The offering

July morning
before the dawn
I step outside
with the dog

night clings
like a heavy curtain
silhouetting trees
against indigo sky

waning gibbous moon
gleaming bright
bathing the earth
in silversoft light

that’s what draws me
the ethereal glow
and a strange star
above the moon

the dog is here
on practical business
trotting out in the yard
obediently
—he is not mine
but he loves me so
he lived here
not so long ago;
he belongs to my son
away on vacation—

the dog
is like the morning
velvet charcoal
silent
peaceable
watchful
I can barely glimpse
the glow of his white breast
out in the darkness

a whippoorwhill calls
from the pines
while I try to discern
what star that is
so bright above the moon

—Jupiter
king of the planets
and there in the east
Mars, glittering red

the ancients could read
their preordained ritual
but I, in the silverdark Now,
cannot

—a loud animal cry
shatters the stillness

No!
I know without knowing

—here comes the dog
shy and humble creature
who’s not really supposed to run
on his congenitally malformed
frail back legs

here he comes, running
as hard as he can
through the shadows
charcoal in charcoal
soft shape in his mouth

No! No!

how is it that
this most benevolent creature
who’s never done another harm, never
should be ceremoniously dropping
a rabbit at my feet

no, no, I cry
horror and awe intermingled
at the unnecessary death
that he can even catch a rabbit

—incongruous,
how Elvis starts singing in my brain
as if this act
is the sole measure
of a dog’s worth

for here stands The Dog
magically transformed
from meek pet
to mighty hunter
bringing the solitary catch
of his life
to me

a blood offering
under the waning gibbous moon
beneath the winking planet-king

oh beautiful dog
oh beautiful rabbit

I am sorry.

I could never be
a god.

July morning. Jupiter above the waning gibbous moon.

Treasure hunt poem

with thanks to Allison Berryhill for the inspiration on today’s Open Write at Ethical ELA, inviting participants to walk outside and collect objects for writing a poem

The Treasure

In the backyard
by the fence
it lies half-buried

sun-bleached
pristine white
glowing with 
ethereal light

holy relic
enshrined in earth

beloved remnant
of a creature
who carried it
in his kingly jaws
who stretched out
his golden body
this ivory scepter clutched
in big leonine paws

a treasure left behind
for me to find

monument
to lazy afternoons
when he was
here

so full of love
unwritten
in stone

yet still
resounding
abounding
surrounding
the bone

‘Succinct truth’ poem

Today on Ethical ELA, Maureen Young Ingram invites teacher-poets to compose “succinct truth” poems for VerseLove. The idea is to write about a difficult subject with a message of hope in 10-20 short lines, playing with lack of punctuation and capitals.

Mine’s twenty-two lines but I’m letting it be.

Dichotomies

humans
are a dichotomous race
desperately desiring
dutifully demanding
historically unable
to extend grace
at least
each other-ward

the tome of our existence
a work in progress
pages of pain
penned in blood

some say that babies are a sign
that the world should go on

forgetting that worlds go on
without humans at all

although my dog doesn’t think so

there’s hope
isn’t there
as long as dogs
haven’t given up
on us

My son with his dog, Henry, who surely has a soul
and who loves with his whole dog heart

News poem

On Day 12 of National Poetry Month, Susie Morice invites teacher-poets to scan the news for crafting poems on VerseLove at Ethical ELA. Susie writes: “Use the news piece as a launch for a poem that conveys your concerns that this news arouses. Let us see the claws of your rage, feel the scratch of your worry, taste the saffron of your affection. Let it take you to wherever it takes you.  We want to hear your voices.”

This local news caught my heart two days ago. I find that I cannot add to it. The facts speak for themselves.

Fallen Officer

He died
in the line of duty

tracking an armed robber
who opened fire

the funeral home
got a call
asking if
they can
“do this sort of thing”

they say they can

surely a service 
with full honors

for our fallen hero

named Major

age 3
German Shepherd
K-9 Officer

God forgive
us all

Thanks K. for being such a great help and a friend. Whitewolf PhotographCC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Major was a beautiful black German Shepherd

Thanks also to Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge

Dachshund equation

An equation poem:

1 sweater lying on the bed + 1 dachshund + 1 bad choice = I’m sorry

Visual representation:

1 sweater lying on the bed

1 dachshund

1 bad choice

I’m sorry

*******

with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Story Challenge every day in the month of March. And to Dennis, even though he balled up my freshly de-wrinkled sweater. Rascal.

Dog bowl story

I had to get Dennis the dachshund new food and water bowls.

He had been using the bowls left behind by our previous dachshund, Nikolaus.

Nik would have been twenty years old this week, if he were still here. He made it to sixteen.

I can see his little grave from my kitchen window. Two days ago the spot was covered in snow. Three tiny sparrows were feeding there or maybe just pecking at the snow for a drink of water. In spring a big rabbit feeds there.

Nik would not mind. He was always an easy old soul.

So, I have been using his bowls for Dennis, who is two.

One of the bowls was cracking (the food bowl; one cannot keep water in a bowl that is cracking).

When I set it it down for Dennis’s supper a couple of days ago, I must have done it a bit too hard: the bowl broke into half a dozen pieces.

So.

New bowls for Dennis.

I knew this was the right one as soon as I saw the wording on it.

It is the truth for Dennis, pampered little autocrat that he is.

It is the truth for me.

Because I have loved and been loved by dogs.

In return for their sustenance, they sustain. They give their whole selves.

Even hardheaded dachshunds.

My six-year-old granddaughter refers to him as “rascally Dennis”