The Hound by Robert Francis

The Hound by Robert Francis

The first understanding one might get from this poem could be the very simple translation of what Robert Francis is saying. The poem says that like a dog, life can come at you in questionable and unexpected ways. A dog can come running to some unknown person and either attack them and rip them apart, or take the time to sniff things out and lick a person in acceptance. Francis writes that you cannot tell what one is going to do in advance; you just have to wait and allow things to happen naturally. If people always knew what was going to happen next in life, we would not have mysteries, and nothing would be able to surprise us, especially when we do not expect it. When reading this poem multiple times, you are allowed to analyze different aspects of your own life and see which fits best to this analogy of a poem. One woman could use this poem as a parallel of finding love and waiting for a man to break her heart, or in the positive light, for the right one to come along and marry her. This poem identifies with many different people in the way in which one can adapt it to whatever they want to compare in life. The main point of what Francis was writing is that like what a dog is going to do, life is unpredictable and we are just along for the ride and get to stand by and watch as it happens before us.

Life the hound
Comes at a bound
Either to rend me
Or to befriend me.

I cannot tell
The hound’s intent
Till he has sprung
At my bare hand
With teeth or tongue.
Meanwhile I stand
And wait the event.

1 comment:

  1. You're right about this poem: its power lies in its ambiguity. I would like to see more analysis as to HOW Francis creates that ambiguity (or freedom of interpretation) effectively. What is it about his poem--his images, his diction, his controlling metaphor? What?--that works so well?