Analysis of “That Sure is My Little Dog” Poem by Eleanor Lerman

Dog poem

“That Sure is My Little Dog” by Eleanor Lerman is seen as one of the greatest contemporary poems ever written. In this article, we will take a look at Lerman’s use of metaphors, vocabulary, and the true meaning of the poem through an inciteful analysis.


This poem is written in the voice of the author, speaking about moving on with life and letting the new generation take control. She carries her house on her like a bullet-proof shell and her dog is even wearing hard boots and has sharp jagged steel teeth that she uses to chomp on the “chains of fate”. But she wants to go now. Next, the author speaks about the differences between her generation and others. She mentions the Cuban Missile Crisis and how her generation is different than her parents. But now the world is “yours”. She wishes good luck and to “Have a nice day” sarcastically.


This poem articulates the idea that the author wants to pass on the burdens of life to the next generation. Often, young people blame their parents for problems around the world. Now that the author is older, she wishes that she didn’t have to deal with them and she could push them onto the next generation.

You can see this theme throughout the poem’s entirety. The first sentence about carrying her house is like she wants to move while also trying to constantly feel safe and protected. The second line about the little dog is actually a reference to her feelings of protection and how she tries to hide from major problems as she tries to change fate. She goes on to talk about how she wants to move on with life. She then talks about the past with the Cuban Missile Crisis and how she disagreed with the nation about what should be done. She says that even though some things are similar to her parents’ generation that there are actually many differences, too. She says that other generations thought they would continue on until the end of time. However, now it is the new generation and time for them to leave. She wishes good luck and to watch out for the big changes in life and world.

Figurative Language Meanings

House – her emotions and feelings that she holds close to her to make her feel safe.
Little dog – protection and loyalty
Chains of fate – Things that must happen and holds us down to them
Edge of the abyss – End of time
Ramparts – defenses of ourselves and choices we make
What you want to watch for is when the sky shakes
itself free of kites and flies away – things that are seemingly static but suddenly change

Poem: ”That Sure is My Little Dog” by Eleanor Lerman

Yes, indeed, that is my house that I am carrying around
on my back like a bullet-proof shell and yes, that sure is
my little dog walking a hard road in hard boots. And
just wait until you see my girl, chomping on the chains
of fate with her mouth full of jagged steel. She’s damn
ready and so am I. What else did you expect from the
brainiacs of my generation? The survivors, the
the oddball-outs with the Cuban Missile Crisis still
sizzling in our blood? Don’t tell me that you bought
our act, just because our worried parents (and believe
we’re nothing like them) taught us how to dress for
and to speak as if we cared about our education. And
I guess the music fooled you: you thought we’d keep
the party going even to the edge of the abyss. Well,
too bad. It’s all yours now. Good luck on the ramparts.
What you want to watch for is when the sky shakes
itself free of kites and flies away. Have a nice day.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia. Get his newest poetry eBook here.

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