Horace Walpole's "Dogmanity"
By Carol Hamilton

He confessed his new love
when his friend died,
and he, as promised, adopted
her dog. He had to check on Tonton
between engagements, admitted
to a correspondent that the beast
sat on the very paper he was writing on.
I was young when last so captivated,
cried nights and days away
at the border collie's loss
when the pup strayed. I explained
my bloated face at a New Haven
White Castle, tiny waffle place.
I sat through "J.B." and thought
I understood Job's losses then.
Of course, I knew nothing.
It was practice. And Eloise returned.
Not all pains have such happy endings.
She really was a terrible pet,
poor thing, herding dog in a second story
room. But that fact does not weigh
anything on balance.
I have learned to measure out
my passions with a teaspoon,
spilling nothing. For I still recall
the feel of that cushioned stool
and every other chair of lamentation.
I wonder if Walpole or Tonton
had to bear the next death.
And why that lettered man
trusted such a fickle thing as life
with all his reasons not to weep.