Beyond the White Gate



In the West Country deep, down a quiet narrow lane
A haggard white gate stood in shame
For its task was to guard a disgraceful event
That was due to take place on that day

Beyond the white gate was a brown muddy track
That led to an old dairy farm
There were cowsheds, a farmhouse, a caravan too
Overlooked by a large wooden barn

Set to one side, was a rusty old hut
That had crudely been fashioned together
Inside lay a dog, with a chain round his neck
By which he was shackled and tethered

Ben was his name, a beautiful boy
But the light of his soul had been dimmed
His skin rife with mange and blood in his ears
His living conditions were grim

Ben was brought in to herd on the farm
An art that he struggled to learn
Through bombardments of beatings, the bellowed instructions
Proved too much for him to discern

Unable to meet the farmer’s demands
Ben’s life was deemed without worth
Assuming that solely to work on that farm
Was why he was put on this earth!

So there he was chained, by day and by night
The subject of cruel persecution
But it wouldn’t end there, for this was the day
That was marked for his execution!

Branded ‘no-good!’ ‘A waste of resources!’
He was to be shot on that day
But the farmer remembered that guests were en route
So his murderous plans were delayed

A family had booked the old caravan
For a two-week vacation together
And when they met Ben, he soon found his place
In each of their hearts forever

The couple had children, a girl and a boy
They visited Ben every day
Feeding him treats and smoothing his fur
They just couldn’t stay away!

One time, having asked for the farmer’s permission
The family took Ben to the beach
It was only about a mile away
But had always been out of his reach

Oh, how he bounded and galloped with glee
Upon the sands of Widemouth Bay
As heaven stopped, and smiled down from above
To witness his greatest day!

Soon came the day for the family to leave
And Ben was once more confined
But not in that hut, but the back of their car
For they’d never have left him behind

Through patience and kindness, he slowly recovered
From previous damage inflicted
He’d finally found the life he deserved
His spirit no longer constricted

Nourished with love, Ben became strong
A colossus, a king of his kind
He lived a long life, in glorious light
Past shadows left firmly behind

Through decades that followed, his spirit endured
He surely could not be forgotten
And one of the ripples his impact had birthed
Reached another whose life had been rotten

In need of a home, some thirty years later
Bernie had suffered like Ben
Tied up and tormented for most of his life
Does the cruelty of man have no end!!!?

The boy from the family, all grown up by now
Was inspired by Ben’s memory
He adopted poor Bernie, so damaged and scared
That boy—may I add—was me!

Bernie’s full tale is yet to be told
As he starts his next chapter anew
But for Ben, I’ll continue to carry you close
My dear boy, I wrote this for you

About this poem

This poem tracks a true story about my childhood dog, Ben. It centres around a farm we stayed at whilst on holiday in 1988 when I was around seven years old. The farmer explained to my father that Ben was no use to him and thus planned to shoot him on the day we arrived. He opted to postpone this as we must have got there a little early. The kindness and decency my mother and father showed by rescuing Ben had a huge impact on the way I live my life. I feel immensely proud of them both.  

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Submitted by adam.gutteridge on January 14, 2024

2:59 min read
327

Quick analysis:

Scheme XXAB XCDX XEXF GXXX CHXH XICI JKBK XBXX XEXE GBEB KLBL MBXB XNXN FXXX XNJN XKAK EXXX XMXM XDXD
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 3,017
Words 598
Stanzas 19
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Discuss the poem Beyond the White Gate with the community...

13 Comments
  • ashupraj87
    Great way of story telling
    LikeReply2 months ago
  • Philipo
    Fine work. Congrats.
    LikeReply3 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thank you Philipo, I very much appreciate it.
      LikeReply3 months ago
  • npirandy
    You've won me over Buddy!
    LikeReply 13 months ago
  • DougHaberman
    You had my vote! Beautiful story, beautifully told.
    LikeReply 13 months ago
  • lovingempath
    Congratulations Adam. I just read this and it made me cry, That's always a winner with me.
    LikeReply 13 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thank so much Robin. It really means a lot to me.
      LikeReply3 months ago
  • Vixility
    Well, wow! Such a well crafted piece and one based on true events … you’ve done it again, Adam. This tribute nearly moved me to tears. Congrats on the fine work and win!!
    LikeReply 13 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thank you very much for the kind comment John. And congratulations on your “Candy Land” poem and the win.
      LikeReply3 months ago
  • Chrissy.
    Beautiful ♡
    LikeReply3 months ago
  • Symmetry60
    Congrats, Adam. Beautifully written.
    LikeReply3 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thanks Steve. And congratulations again for your win with “ Mortally Wounded: A Soldier’s Tale”.
      LikeReply3 months ago
  • sharon_schwartz
    Yes. I chose this poem because it flows; tells a story in a very visual and graphic way. It puts you at the scene and helps you to be aware of what love can do for the life of an animal that has gone through so much abuse and neglect. Cruelty to animals is so horrific and it’s so often heard of. I just recently helped rescue a kitten. When we got her she was so pitiful and dehydrated. Her eyes weren’t able to open because of infection and her tail was broken. She was left in the median of a highway. We have had her for a few months now and she is such a blessing. She has a little nub now because her tail was amputated. I love her so much she sleeps with me every night. She gets the zoomies quite often and keeps high energy in our house. This poem is relatable. 
    LikeReply3 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thank you Sharon. I really appreciate your comment. Well done for rescuing that kitten and nursing her back to health. What a stroke of luck that you found her!
      Maybe you will write a poem about her story (I’d love to read it if you do!).
      Well done with your “The Conflicted Perception” poem by the way. A perfect reminder that perception is everything. 
      LikeReply 13 months ago
    • sharon_schwartz
      thank-you for taking time to read my poem.
      LikeReply3 months ago
  • DougHaberman
    A tender and beautiful tribute both to a wonderful dog and to the wonderful family who made for him a new home.
    LikeReply3 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thank you so much Doug. I really appreciate your kind words. I give credit to my parents for caring and showing kindness. Thanks again and many congratulations on your win with the fabulous “ Blue Horizons”.
      LikeReply3 months ago
  • TheSaltySpinster
    This is a beautiful tribute to Ben, and to all rescued pups now over the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you for sharing this.
    LikeReply3 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thanks so much Celeste. It’s lovely of you to say that as my main aim was for the poem to be a tribute to Ben. Thank you again.
      LikeReply3 months ago
  • npirandy
    I'm a sucker for happy "doggy tails". Great story!
    LikeReply3 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thanks Randy. Congratulation's again on your win!
      LikeReply3 months ago
  • susan.brumel
    This poem is beautifully written- its words heartfelt with a very important message. A moving story, it grabbed my heart from the very first line, and made me cry happy tears. Very well done. Thank you for sharing. 
    LikeReply3 months ago
    • adam.gutteridge
      Thank you so much Susan. I’m over the moon that you enjoyed the poem. And congratulations on your win too with the fantastic “Time’s Comedic Architect”
      LikeReply3 months ago

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"Beyond the White Gate" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 May 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/180549/beyond-the-white-gate>.

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