The Grey Dog

I raise my snout to sniff the sweet air. I seek his familiar smell, his rough hand on my coat, his call to hunt. We ran together after the deer through the heather bound trail. He weaved as I flew bracken high with every bound, his loyal hound.


I recall the heat of running with my lord, the sweat dripping from my coat, as we fell together in the chill of the hill. We rolled in the peat, as I wrapped around him, his faithful hound.


He left me with no command to stay, with no mention of return. I pined for his voice, his touch, the thrill of his reaching for his coat, his hat, his gun.


He was gone so long, I lost heart and found a mate. We made a lair, a life, and pups.


I never lost hope, but my speed left me with age, as my pups grew strong and fast.


Then the day his smell returned to me, my heart leaped, I jumped to my feet.


He was swimming across the loch to the home he left. Naked, he stood tall on the shore of his island, looking for me. I howled as though my lungs would expel with my cry.


But he was unknown to those who were mine, and they killed what my life was for.


I ran but they were on him before I could reach there, and they scattered blooded. I licked his wounds, but he lay like the deer on the hill, open and defiled. My cry was heard through the glen to the sea.


They came and killed what killed what was mine, and they carried him away and the dark arrived in my heart to my soul.


Then they dug a hole and put him there, leaving a mound that would become my lair.


But while I couldn’t reach him in the earth I would wander the hill to find him in death.


So I run, across the glens, the hills, through the machair and the peat, looking for him, to hear his call, and I can never rest until I do.


Tom O. Keenan

March 2022


Nat and Naw!