Happy National Poetry Month! Another favorite poet, the amazing Amy Tudor. 🙂 ❤
What We Love
I walk my old dog down a street called Holiday,
past trees whose white bark is trimmed with silver
in the light rain of early Spring. The dog’s small heart
is failing and the vet’s said he shouldn’t be out,
but if we walk slowly he can go four or five squares
of sidewalk, then I let him stop and rest.
He puts his nose up into the cool air, the wind ruffling
his black and white coat and the gray on his ears,
the wind smoothing over him. When he can’t go
any further (halfway past that lovely ocre-colored house
in my neighborhood, the one that’s half-hidden by linden
and guarded by an iron gate), I carry him against my chest.
One day a black lab stood at a driveway gate
and barked at us as we passed. My old dog
looked from beneath half-lidded eyes and didn’t answer,
and finally the other dog’s owner, an older man,
came out the screen door and called the dog to come back.
The dog rose from where he sat, a hind leg dragging
and his right-front hitched as he moved toward the house.
I watched it go. The man looked at me holding
my old dog against my chest. The man smiled.
He raised a hand, half-greeting, half-regret.
I should say here that I know the rules I’m breaking.
I was told years ago that poets shouldn’t waste
their time on trivial things like dying pets.
“It’s been done, and done, and done to death,”
a friend once said. And it has, sure
as death’s been done and done and done to death.
So I’ll make a deal with you– forget
what I’ve said about my dog in my arms,
his nose in the air, the wind like hands. And forget
the man and his black lab that limped up
those brick back steps. I won’t write about any of that.
I’ll write a poem about what we love instead.
What we love is a night and a house
wreathed with linden, the dark kept outside
a circle of light over an iron gate. It’s fine
as silver paper or the wind of early Spring.
What we love is a tree that grows outside our window
as we grow inside its panes, a small good thing
we bring home – or that follows us there — one day.
Then it’s a friend that walks with us, gentle
and welcome as rain. It’s what we call to us to come
when darkness is coming, and it’s what tends us,
and what we tend. And finally it’s what we carry
close against us, feeling blessed as we hold it
and joy for what it gives and has given,
for the comfort it’s been through hard, heavy days,
forgiving every burden it’s been, grateful
for even the grief we must carry when it’s gone,
that soft, warm, impossible weight.
Make art about what you love.