In the yard under a majestic poplar tree is an old hound,
The tree has known him since he was a pup,
Its roots having grown around his favorite spot.
He slumbers, a reposed puddle of black and tan,
Ears marked with nicks, pieces missing,
His gray muzzle a scarred testament to his years.
He does not know time as we do, he knows seasons.
When the fall air turns crisp he acknowledges it,
Rheumy eyes peering at the woods around the house.
There is movement, scent in the air calling him.
Though instincts overcome his painful indolence,
He is no longer able to break brush on the hunt.
Once his strong voice told game he was on their trail,
Now, only a whispered rasp announces his wakefulness.
He believes he is still that force of nature and he speaks to it.
When the stars are spread like diamonds on black velvet,
On clear full moon nights, golden light fills his soul.
With nose pointed skyward he stands before heavens altar,
Howling a mournful comment for times lost, memories regained,
The lament a tribute to his cascading dreams of the past.
He is close to his time for his forever long last hunt.
He doesn’t know that he will be missed, hearts broken,
Those that know him will be burdened with that sadness,
Remembrance of a life well lived, the passing of time and old dogs.
My parts are wearing out,
The joints crackle and creak a bit,
Sounding as rusting door hinges,
Squeaking or aching or both at once.
The knees are the most vociferous,
The two old hounds won’t hunt,
Though, they do incessantly bark,
A constant mellow resonant growl,
Protesting, but not too loudly.
Their desire, not running anymore,
A connoisseur’s preference to sit,
Then constantly grumbling about sitting.
Saggy eared weather prognosticators,
Craving a warm fire in winter,
Then a soothing ice pack in summer.
So, I force them to take a daily walk,
Just so they will not become too lazy,
Lazy and fat and cantankerous.
These old dogs are trusted friends,
They have known my every step,
Every love, pain, disappointment and, vice.
At times I have been unkind to them,
Banging them through life, but
They persist, tagging along.
I am grateful for their attention.
Appreciative of their every scar,
Amused by their journey’s story.
And, when for the last time,
I rest upon satin sheets,
They too will lie down with me,
Trapped in an eternal slumber,
Finally, ignoring a season’s change,
Silenced to their complaints.
Together, three raggedy tramps of time,
Becoming fading fodder for the ages.
Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland, home of my Grandmother Elsie “Ferguson” Harbour’s family.
Awakening this morning
I am blushed with the dawn,
Standing at a frosty window
inhaling with an icy yawn,
Dogs are greeting the day
whining at the frozen grass,
You snug under the covers
my blonde blue-eyed lass,
I leave off my bathrobe
the cold good against my skin,
Feeling the call of forefathers
those Celtic Highlander men,
From deep in my sired soul
voices reach an open mental ear,
Guiding my footsteps in life
each day, week, month, and year,
There are others there to speak,
all from a far distant time,
Crafted by their ancient wisdom
knowledge carried in my mind,
I am grateful for their presence
for the things they let me know,
I am that which they have made me
a mosaic of my clan past tableau.
I have waited all day,
Patiently, in the house.
The sounds outside interesting,
Though some of them strange.
I have lifted my head
Listening to sidewalk footsteps.
I thought it might be you,
They were not.
Twice I wandered to the yard,
Feeling the grass tickling,
Smelling the flowers and dew.
All the loose things lying about,
I picked them up and
Move them, several times.
I ate or drank when I wanted,
Though I did not have a hunger.
The phone rang four times,
I did not answer it.
My only interest is you,
You complete my day,
For you I live and long.
The neighbor cat visited.
It walked the window ledge,
Peering in at me,
But it has no motivation,
It’s just a stupid cat.
The radio has been on,
At least there are voices.
The clock inside me is ringing,
I know that you will be here,
The thought of you makes me quiver,
Then I hear the key in the door,
I hear the rustle of your clothes,
Your scent fills my lungs.
And there you are.
I am so happy I could burst.
You reach for me,
Take my face in your hands,
Saying, “Hey boy, how was your day.”
It is good now,
You are home.