Friday, April 01, 2016


Goya, "The Dog," c. 1819–1823

“And just then death came and darkened the eyes of
Argos, who had seen Odysseus again after twenty years.”

Homer’s Odyssey, Book 17: 260-327
Translation by Stephen Mitchell

The traveler returns, only this time the dog doesn’t quiver
with joy, or even recognition. Instead, the gray guard hairs
prickle and stand erect; the aged legs stiffen. Everything is
an alarm going off, to the dog—even the scent of long-lost
family carries panic, not joy. “Who is this thing that carries
the pack scent? Who is this stranger, who says I’m theirs?”
Nothing to be done except to crouch down, low and slow,
avoid the dog’s stare, gentle the breath, wait. With luck, a
warm body will lean into another, together exhaling a sigh.

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