A poem about bull terriers

[This “dog” poem by Wex Jones is a classic.  I’m unsure when it first appeared, but based on what I’ve been able to find online, it must have been before 1915.  I first saw it in a book titled The Bull Terrier by Dr. E. S. Montgomery and I’ve never forgotten it.]

WHITE ‘UN

Bull Terrier? Sure; she’s a white ‘un—there ain’t no other breed—
Frolic around you in sunshine, murder in time o’ need.
Soul? O’course, she ain’t got none. A dog with a soul, gee whiz!
We folks, so the preachers tell us, has all the souls that there is.
The thief has a soul, and the pander; the wife-beater, he has a soul;
But Frost! o’course not; she ain’t on the lordly roll.
A dog when it dies, so they tell us, well, that dog is just plain dead,
But we lofty human beings has eternity ahead.
And this Frost, she ain’t fitted, like us folks, for to enter into that same,
For she only minds her own business and raises her pups to be game.

The world has millions o’ humans a-whinin’ to thousands o’ gods,
While this Frost asks nothin’ from no one, whatever the bloomin’ odds.
She never goes back on a pal, and there’s nothin’ can make her quit,
Not if you chopped her to pieces and burned her bit by bit.
But, o’ course, when she dies she’s a dead one. I have to go it alone,
And I ain’t so keen on facin’ the shadowy trail on my own.
Still, if ever I fluke into heaven, I’ll bet I hain’t long to wait
Till that blame little Frost comes smashing right through the pearly gate.
St. Peter could never stop her, not if she gets a start,
And if ever he looks in them eyes, I doubt if he’d have the heart.

This Frost, the preachers tell us, has no soul, and maybe it’s true,
Though I knows the white on her jacket runs plumb clear all the way through,
Which is more’n I’d say of some humans possessed of immortal souls—
Well, loyalty maybe is foolish; it surely don’t fatten no rolls.
And Frost, I guess, is a fool, and don’t know her way about,
For she’ll stick, while your friends forget you as soon as you’re down and out.
So, according to what they tell us, I’ll have to say good-bye
To that game little pal of a white ‘un when it comes my time to die.
That’s right, I suppose; but if ever she thinks that I need her—well,
That Frost’ll knock down the devil and swim through the flames of hell.

—Wex Jones in The Sun

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This entry was posted in Animal theology, Writing (uncategorized). Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A poem about bull terriers

  1. doug williams says:

    wonderful and so true

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