Let the Poetry Begin!
For those of us who love their dogs, the imminent loss of the family pet is heart-breaking. A creature who has lived with us for years, shared our happiness and loved us so perfectly is mourned well before its final passing. I wrote this poem, in tears, for Wizard, our golden retriever, who was clearly failing. Tears have sprung back as I re-read it a few minutes ago. Sentimental? Maybe, but, if my dictionary is right, sentimentality is prompted by feelings of tenderness, sadness or nostalgia. That's what losing a friend feels like. That is the stuff from which poetry is made!
Clean out of Rabbits
Wizard, fabled hound,
An old dog,
Like other dogs of war,
Lies, carpeting the hearth
And soaking up the dying embers of the fire.
His own white heat a taunting dream
That haunts his waking day.
Was it only yesterday
He ran away and merrily
At every opportunity,
To tumble and chase
And race rabbits
Frantic through the field.
Took the family for a run,
Ran ten times more than anyone?
Around the hedge, around the tree,
Ten times, ten times more than we?
Yes, only yesterday.
So now his jaunty days have gone,
His strut has slowed, his weight increased.
Where once he snarled, a fearsome beast,
He now draws back his lips, and grins
A toothless late December smile.
The dog of dogs has had his day
And now waits, patient, for the night.
An old dog,
Run clean out of rabbits.
We were in love and on our way to Parnham House to check it over as a venue for our forthcoming production of 'Don Pasquale' with Ruth's opera company, Dorset Chamber Opera.
We bought a punnet of strawberries and climbed a prominent hill, with a clump of pine trees on top, just outside Bridport. We called it Six Pine Hill. We didn't know it was called Colmers Hill. It didn't matter.
Strawberries on Six Pine Hill
They laugh and kiss
With strawberry sips,
The glistening pink
Of their strawberry lips,
And kiss and bite the flesh in half
With lips and teeth and lips and laugh.
And flesh is weak on Six Pine Hill
As Spring awakes, and passion's song
Lulls the afternoon along.
In love, they choose each fruit with care
As flesh and fruit and kiss they share.
© Robert Eshelby 1997
With love to Caroline and Luke who were married this weekend. x
I was born in England soon after the war. I moved , with my family to Australia in 1966, where I was a soldier (briefly), a public servant, an opera singer, and an English teacher.