Only A Day

By Marty Hale

“He left no relatives,” they said,
“He didn’t have a friend
Who knew about his sorry plight —
Was with him at the end!” . . .
And so they raked the stove fires out,
And closed the old shack door,
For grouchy, crusty old Tom Dare
Would open it no more.
Then each went to his own home-fires,
Forgot the lonely shack,
And not a soul was near to see
An old form stumble back
And crouch, sad-eyed, beside the door,
His bony length stretched flat —
He waited for his master’s voice,
His friendly little pat.
Days had been lean for Old Tom Dare,
Not food enough for two —
But Old Tom whispered to his dog,
“I’ll share along with you,
Since Jennie went away from us
There’s been no one to care —
No one but you to give a thought
For lonely old Tom Dare.”
And so the two of them had shared,
If it be feast, or fast,
That morning Rover had a bone —
It was their very last,
And there was nothing left for Tom —
It didn’t matter so,
Because he lay upon his bed,
And knew that he must Go.
The careless villagers passed by,
As they were pleasure-bound,
But none of them took time to see
The faithful, hungry hound.
Too tired and true to leave his post,
He stayed there to the End . . .
And folks had said of Old Tom Dare,
“He didn’t have a friend!”
The days have passed, but no one stops
Of all that come and go,
Old Rover lies beside the door,
Half-hidden in the snow . . .
I know that Old Tom had a friend,
A loyal friend, because
Today I found Old Rover dead,
The bone between his paws.

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