from the small eyes,
as the gate closes,
and she is gone.
This poem is about the moment when a dog owner is with their dog in their backyard in the morning, but then leaves for the day.
There are two aspects to this poem. The first aspect is simply that of sadness. The poem is sad – the dog cries when the owner leaves.
In another sense though, the poem is about perspective. There are two points of view in the poem: that of the owner and that of the dog. This poem picks one of them, to highlight the differences between them.
From the perspective of the owner, this moment is only mildly sad and ends at the point in the poem. Nothing in the poem refers to the owner’s sadness, and whatever sadness she may feel ends in the poem. It ends at the moment when “she is gone”. The owner leaves their dog every day. While the moment she says goodbye in the morning might be a little sad to her, she soon forgets it as the day moves on. Also, the dog cries “as the gate closes”. The owner never sees this sadness. Eventually she comes home and sees what seems to be a happy dog. She might think nothing of the time in between. The moment of sadness is small and it ends.
The other perspective is that of the dog. This poem focuses on that perspective. The dog in the poem is very sad. It senses finality in the situation: “the gate closes and she is gone.” The dog is alone, and rather than simply feeling slightly sad like the owner at the departure, the dog actually expresses the sadness through tears. There is a physical expression of sadness. Additionally, this moment of sadness is the beginning for the dog. The dog has just begun to feel sad, and may feel sad until its owner returns.
This poem highlights the differences of perspectives, one mild and ending, the other large and beginning, by focusing on one of them.