The Old Shepherd’s Chief Mourner

*Wrote this ekphrastic (a poem written describing a piece of art) poem for my poetry class. It’s about Sir Edwin Landseer’s painting of the same name. I’ve said it before, I’m not very good at writing poetry, but it is something that I really want to improve on.

Once in this sparsely decorated room, sat
an old man and his dog. Here they endured
cold summer nights, and golden autumn noons.
Sitting on the same wooden chair.
Watching the wooly sheep walk by.
On the evenings, they would take a walk,
and the old man would let him free
to gambol through the grass and chase
at an unsuspecting frog or bug. He would
smile at him, and his heart would flutter, not
at the feel of the breeze on his wet nose,
but of the very existence of this being
he has loved since he could remember.
Even in his sleep, only the darkness kept
them apart.

Now, in this sparsely decorated space, sits
the old dog, laying his weary head over
his master, patiently waiting
for this wooden box to fling open.
The hollow space he feels, in the veins
of his beastly heart confuses.
Is this how human loss feels like?
How much longer?

It was instinct that told him to love
unconditionally. Now, instinct
whispers, words that even instinct
tells him not to follow
—“Go, let him go.”


About misspee

Sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes, I write. View all posts by misspee

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