Tag: mourning

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

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.

Poem: talking about broken hearts

As we talk about broken hearts,
she manages a feat
no one else has:
to diagnose a reason
for my suffering.

She says
i am without guile.

The problem is my personality –
it intimidates.

She insists
i walk through the world
utterly without camouflage,
my need naked to all –
and that such openness
makes people run away.

Yet, it is also the wellspring
from which art comes.

She knows this
because she suffers
from the same intensity.
It might be why
we do the same work.
Definitely, it is why
she has surrendered
the search
for any love
but that of friendship.

All i know
right now,
for myself,
as her words wash over me,
is that i ooze loneliness.

i would give so much
to find comfort
in the arms of the one
i love –
God, how i mourn his absence –
particularly at this moment
when my purpose,
the meaning
that usually drives
my life,
has been letting me starve.

She sells her art.

A month ago,
that would have seemed
like a challenge,
an encouragement,
confirmation that it is possible,
a message
that i must find a way
to sell my own.

Only drenched in today’s exhaustion,
i cannot stir myself into hope.

Perhaps she is right,
and i am without guile.
For i cannot avoid or deny
my unguarded need
and excruciating grief,
they are etched on my face,
scrawled all over my work,
and shout out their existence
through every movement
of my limbs.

Even my usual habit
of prayer has halted,
for i lack the heart to ask
and receive silence
or condemnation.

If only my exhibitionism
of spirit and emotion
had some benefit –
but this nudity seems gratuitous.
It leaves me so very weary
that i cannot decide where to go –
and now,
i have even
run out of words
for this poem.

2014