Ode to Bobby

Reads: 29  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic


ODE TO BOBBY
Don Stitt
(c)2005

On night-watch in Grassmarket,
Watching over goats and hogs,
policemen made good use of their
protective, loyal dogs.

John Gray’s dog was a terrier,
The breed that comes from Skye;
And when John made his nightly rounds
His “partner” stayed close by.

One night, a petty robber
in Candlemakers’ Row
stood silently in shadows
so to deal “Auld Jock” a blow.

But John’s small dog smelled trouble.
He gave the thief a bite,
and sent the blackguard howling,
and retreating in the night.

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
lookin’ out for Auld Jock Gray,
And we’ll take you up to Number Six
for dinner as your pay.

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
never was a friend so true,
and by your rare devotion
all could learn a lot from you

Auld Jock patrolled the alleys
where criminals would hide,
and always made his nightly rounds
with Bobby by his side.

But weather can be harsh there
on Candlemakers’ Row;
and men can catch their death of cold 
Trudging through the snow.

So it was that Jock grew
consumptive, so it’s said;
As he grew every weaker, Bobby
stood guard by his bed

The dog maintained a vigil
right by his master’s side,
Until the day in ‘58
When John Gray finally died

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
John Gray was truly bless’d
in havin’ you protect him
‘til he found his final rest.

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
never was a friend so true,
and by your rare devotion,
all could learn a lot from you.

Policemen who attended
The fun’ral of John Gray
Say nearly all The Old Town came
To pay respects that day.

And heading the procession
In front of all the crowd,
John’s scruffy little terrier would
have made his master proud.

In old Greyfriars’ Kirkyard,
they laid Jock in his grave,
and Bobby watched them lower down
The friend he couldn’t save.

Fresh earth was strewn upon him
By shovel, spade and trowel,
and as a final, sad farewell
the dog gave forth a howl

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
watchin’ over John that way;
you’ll doubtless be united with
your master one fine day.

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
never was a friend so true,
and by your rare devotion
all could learn a lot from you

The sun arose next morning
where gravesmen ply their trade,
above the fresh-dug mound of earth
where Auld Jock Gray was laid.

The parish priest discovered
a sight that slacked his  jaws;
Bobby laid on John’s new grave,
his nose upon his paws.

Groundsmen tried to shoo him,
and make him leave the mound,
but nothing they attempted worked,
and Bobby stood his ground.

They thought he’d soon be going,
once he’d had time to grieve.
Some neighbors tried adopting him,
But Bobby wouldn’t leave.

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
Watchin’ over old Jock’s grave,
And you’ve won our admiration
For the loyalty ye gave.

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
Never was a friend so true,
And by your rare devotion
All could learn a lot from you. 
For fourteen years the terrier
refused to leave John’s side:
his reputation in that time had
spread both far and wide.

Provosts, dukes and princes,
even England’s Queen,
took interest in the little dog
Which grew to be quite keen.

Through season after season,
the canine laid upon
the resting place belonging to 
his fallen master, John.

And when poor Bobby’s lifespan
came to it’s natural end,
they laid the dog to rest beside
the body of his friend

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
watchin’ out for John that way,
and it’s only right you two should be
together still today

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
never was a friend so true
and by your rare devotion
all could learn a lot from you

Today there stands a statue
on Candlemakers’ Row
in honor of the graveyard dog
who just refused to go

The lesson of this story
of bonds that never rend
is death cannot diminish love,
Or steal you from a friend.

If you’re in Edinburgh,
go by Greyfriars’ Kirk,
pay homage to the martyrs
and admire the masons’ work

But then, before you leave it
and go upon your way
stop by the small dog’s tombstone
and briefly pause to say,


“You’re a good lad, Bobby,
and it’s only right, you see,
that you lay beside your dearest friend
for all eternity

You’re a good lad, Bobby, 
never was a friend so true
and by your rare devotion
all could learn a lot from you

You’re a good lad, Bobby,
watchin’ out for John that way,
and it’s only right you two should be
together still today

You’re a good lad, Bobby
never was a friend so true,
and by your rare devotion,
all could learn a lot from you

Aye, by your rare devotion,
all could learn a lot from you.


Submitted: October 28, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Don Stitt. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Other Content by Don Stitt

Poem / Poetry