Tag: dog

poem: grieving

Without warning
the words rip their way out.

“I miss my dog!”

i might have gone to him
for cuddles
to be confronted
by his absence.

Or,
i might leave the house
not having to worry
about walks,
free from fretting
over him
while i travel.
That momentary gratitude
that i can be on my way
turns into gutted grief.

By in large,
this flesh has grown numb
to the shuddering pain of tears.

Despair has given way
to emptiness.

A surreal stillness
has completely overtaken
all the loud wails of grief.

This is life now;
this is my new loneliness.

Only, i cannot see this
as movement forward –
rather,
i am an ostrich,
head firmly planted
in the sand,
choking on change
i never wanted to happen.

6 may 2016

poem: for Darwin the dog.

Darling,
it started to pour
an hour
after you died.

i could not shake
the feeling
that the Divine
had finally lost
her composure.
My tears were joined
by an ocean
of saltwater rain.

This world is poorer
without your presence.

i can already feel
my will and heart
unraveling
in the face
of this tsunami
of grief.

You will be
what i search for
in my dreams.

No doubt,
you will wind up
tucked inside
stories and poems
until i surrender
my pen
into death’s hands.

Still, i think of you
as though you remain
tethered to my soul –
i beg for forgiveness,
i give you all my love
and, sweet boy,
know that underneath
this mask of calm
and the unmistakable acceptance,
i ache with loss
and shine with gratitude.

2 may 2016

Beginning and ending

Two poems about Darwin.  The first was written right after his adoption, when he was still a neurotic perpetual motion machine.  The second written the night before he died.

***

We are the same,
he and i,
living with these yawning voids
inside our hearts.

It is the price we pay
for not being loved well
when we were young,
innocent,
and needed such comforts most.

Somehow
we both learned to love
on our own,
but it’s not the same.
We can’t go back in time
and just fill ourselves up.

Today
in the puppy’s sad eyes,
constant presence
and determined longing,
i see myself.
For many have i followed,
and many times have i gone
to outrageous lengths
to please someone enough
that they might love me.

written in early 2005

***

darwin 1We are the same,
he and i,
this old dog
snoring,
soft sighs of sweet joy,
and his human
weeping
over impending loss.

We have both moved
so far
from where we started.
Lonely and wounded
in our youth,
we have grown
full of love,
fluent in gratitude
and constantly delighted
by kindness.

The yawning voids
were filled
by our own hearts –
learning to trust,
deepening
in the bond
flowing between
canine and poet.
We found contentment
in each other’s
constant company.
We bloomed in safety.

Today,
in the old dog’s dying eyes,
i see myself.
There is an immortality
to the patient kindness
i witness.
The love flowing out of me,
the saltwater rolling down my cheeks,
is met with breathtaking love
and unquestioning trust.

No doubt,
many times,
i will weep,
a gift of thanksgiving
and grief,
remembering
how well
this dog
loved me.

1 may 2016

poem: how many times

How many times
have i prayed,
a monster of need,
tiny hands grasping,
flabby arms flapping,
begging,
disconsolate,
stewing in hopelessness.

Such desperation
is exhausting,
and it did me no good.

My worst nightmares
have begun to come true
and i cannot rise
to the occasion
higher
than i already stand.

The worst
has begun
coming to pass,
but such losses
dance
with contentment.

The dog’s last breaths
taught me
about gratitude,
about finding
loving kindness
even in agony.

With a teacher like that,
what could i do?

Suddenly,
all my praying stopped.

For if i can find
peace,
calm,
stillness
and joy
coexisting
with this pain,
grief
and failure,
then who am i
to pretend
i know
what i need?

7 may 2016

the dog practices zen

They say it’s Dog appreciation day…. so, an old poem about my old dog, when he was still a young pup.

 

the dog practices zendarwin the dog

he sleeps upside down
in the rounded belly
of the papasan,
legs askew
hanging in the air.
soft sighs
and twitching toes
testify to his dreams.
even rolling over
is accomplished
with a slumbering vitality
few humans will ever achieve.
suddenly waking,
he attacks his left leg,
chewing it with the same
intense wholeness…
and, surely, stretching
should only be attempted
with complete attention
and unhesitating abandon.

 

4 may 2006

roo

sorrow on four paws

a very short story inspired by a dog’s loss

###

i tried to tell her. i did. My whole body was wild with the horror of knowledge. Something was WRONG. Every time she came home, the smell of her mortality was stronger. i tried to piss it out, shit it out, bark at the cruelty of fate until it relented to my will, cry until my tears washed me clean of this dreadful certainty. None of it worked. None of it. She kept moving away from me. i kept asking her for time to run by her side, begged for her to stay with me. My need for her love escaped me in long thin cries of despair.

She did not listen; she left me howling.

Grief beyond all measure poured from my throat until i could no longer make sound. The sunshine cannot reach me anymore. There is no will in my legs to run and jump. Why can’t i remember her face or scent as clearly as i used to? How could it start to fade so fast? i roosearch the house for evidence of her and bury myself in it. i beg the universe for her to walk through the door. Huddled in a ball, i silently bargain: i will never, ever, misbehave again – even if the rules make no sense to me – just to get her back.

Oh, i would love to hear her yell “Bad Dog” at me, just to prove to myself that she is still lives.

But, she is gone. My ears cling to the memory of her voice, willing it to stay. i bury my nose in her clothes, trying to forget what has happened.

So many humans are talking about my person – but none of them matter. i remain utterly alone. None are her. Some try to comfort me, they rub me and talk to me, but i am without solace. i slump on the floor, shuddering with each breath, exhausted by my mourning. There is no joy within me, no energy left to lift my head or wag my tail.

‘If only she had listened to me!’ i would whimper it out again, if i had any strength, ‘if only she had understood!’ In my heart, i just wanted her here, safe, with me. Oh, how i wanted to run beside her my whole life. i did everything i could to keep what i smelled from becoming real. With each cry, i was begging her not to change, not to move away from me, all while knowing that i would accept any transformation over her death.

With everything i had, i tried to let her know, but i failed. She did not hear me.

And, now, i am alone.

i am no longer a dog – good or bad – but devastation and sorrow on four paws.

poetry: Roo

IMG_0035She sobs from loneliness,
her whole world upended
by the absence of the one she loves.
With each whistle, moan and bark,
i realize more fully:
i have been her.
Intelligence does nothing
to mitigate the sorrow
that can cling to solitude.
When the heart is focused,
demanding that one person,
beating in an echoing chamber,
an endless loop of need –
all one can do is howl.

written 1/16/2015

poem: Darwin the dog

IMG_1598Darwin the dog

He lays beside me,
ever faithful,
ever kind.

I have never known
love so unfailing,
even when I fail him.

We do not walk enough.
I rush him through the falling snow
to find a place for him to squat.
I consistently fall down
in my treat-giving obligations.
Too often, I work
when huge brown eyes
reproach me for want of play.

Yet he loves,
with tail-wagging totality,
feet dancing with joy.
He loves
despite my wreckedness,
through my wretchedness,
alongside my peacefulness.

As for me,
I cherish these moments,
knowing too well
how quickly life changes
and how fast the days
whip past us.

Someday, one of us
will have to survive
without the other.

Oh, but that is the fantasy
of the future,
for right now,
in this eternal moment
Darwin the dog
sits beside me,
breathes heavily,
stretches into repose,
sighs again,
and surrenders to sleep,
comfortable in the fact
that  I love him.

the cold seeps into my bones

The cold seeps into my bones,
quieting me,
lulling me into stillness,
convincing my muscles
that there is no merit in moving.
No fear enters my heart,
nor any lonely angst,
for my frozen blood
can carry nothing
but silence.
The winter has settled in,
altering the rhythm of life
to something slow and magical.
Everything centers around
the gentle lifting
of my dog’s breath,
the sighing hush
of his exhale
as he sleeps beside me,
and the softness of the blankets
that wrap around me.