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.
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.