This is probably one of the oldest poems I've featured here. Written nearly twenty years ago, it still retains the power to bring a lump to my throat.
My name is Border Collie, Jack, age seven years: my coat is black
with, here and there, a splash of white, and one white paw, my foreleg, right.
My sire and dam were Bob and Bree, each with a lengthy pedigree.
In me, their hearts and souls combine. Mine is a pure and noble line.
I worked for Farmer Collinfold, who died when I was six years old.
He was a kindly man, but stern, and in those years I came to learn
that, as a hand fills out a glove, so loyalty gives shape to love.
At Country Shows, in those bright days, I won rosettes and gathered praise:
I was renowned for grace and style. I was a hero for a while.
The world moved on and I grew older. Work grew harder, nights grew colder.
Younger collies constantly pushed to gain supremacy.
I worked a farm at Eden Rock till foot and mouth destroyed the flock
and now my Master sits and stares. I nose his hand, he turns and swears.
With empty fields devoid of sheep, I hang around the yard and sleep.
I am the Border Collie, Jack. I need my pride and purpose back.
Though not so young, my heart is strong. I need a place where I belong.
If there are sheep left in the land; if somewhere there’s a Master’s hand
that reaches, absently to pat, I can be there. I can do that.