My annual homage to my hunting dog, Maisy. She was a delightful companion,
a great friend, and a hunting dog par excellence.
If we failed to get our limit, she was never at fault.
The Gun Dog
Naught equals the tang of autumn air
Ere winter’s wind sets the leaves asail
Urging the gun dog with joyful ploy
To seek the quarry, the wily quail.
Pursuing the search with tireless zest
With vibrant tail, a staccato beat
Running gracefully with rhythmic style
Scenting at last the covey’s retreat.
Immobile now is the gun dog’s stand
Fixed are his eyes in a baleful stare
Thrilling the drum of fast beating wings
The blur of speed in the morning air.
Reliving well in the minds of men
Sharing full the dog’s endeavor
Prideful pleasure in the skillful find
Past now the hunt, treasured forever.
Poem by Ralph Hammond
He was the Alabama Poet Laureate from 1992 – 1995. He was a two-term mayor of Arab, Alabama, and served under Gov. “Big Jim” Folsom as his chief of staff and press secretary. He was a prolific writer, has written many books of poetry, and is the author of this, my favorite poem. I contacted his son, Jim Hammond, a knife maker (iHEARTknives) in Birmingham, Alabama, and he graciously gave me permission to print his father’s poem.
Thanks so much for sharing your website, and for posting dad’s poem on your upland game page. That’s very special. Our gun dogs certainly leave lasting memories for a lifetime with us.
Dad’s last lab Maggie was an amazing companion until his death. She’d ride in the front seat of his car with him for years going to town every morning. One of my friends passed by them one morning and saw dad just chatting away with her just like she was human. Some friends rescued her from the Huntsville pound and ultimately gave her to us. When I went to research her rabies tag after we got her to find out her history, I found that the tag number was registered to a cat named ‘Bubba’! That was too funny!
Once again, thanks so much for using dad’s poem and letting those words live on to be shared and enjoyed by others along the way.