Proud Flesh

followed only by the plume of her tail

followed only by the plume of her tail

“In dark times, the eye begins to see.”

                                  Theodore Roethke

Shortly after I returned from the U.S., I set out with my dogs , Lilly and Moechi, on our favorite walk . The walk begins on a gravel thruway, turns into a farm road and ends in a mountain trail passable only on foot, or hoof. When I turned onto the trial I noticed Lilly wasn’t with us, I called her, and when she arrived she was shaking and foaming at the mouth. Somewhere in that remote and lovely landscape she’d found poison. She was dying.

I was memorizing Jane Hirshfield’s, For What Binds Us, as we walked.  I’ve had a very difficult time continuing with this poem, or even going for a walk since her death. But it is so appropriate, I wanted to share it. I admit I used a cheat sheet to make the video.

I’ve questioned my choice to allow my dogs to be free, since I’ve lost four in two years  to poison and disease.  I don’t know that the answer is sufficient or responsible, but, it’s because they are campo dogs. Freedom is their life.  I know, though not as safe, they are happier than the poor dogs I walked in the U.S. that spent hours in their crates every day.

Long ago, I decided my responsibility was to aid in the fulfillment of their daily lives, not the near impossible safeguarding of their future. After Elvis was implicated in the death of a calf and became a public enemy , I tried keeping him on a leash, watching him constantly if he wasn’t; I made him stay indoors at night (no one got a good night sleep). But it only took a rabbit sighting to send him deep into the woods if I wasn’t hyper-vigilant. Finally, I realized I could not watch my dogs all the time, and that even if I had a fenced in yard someone could and likely would throw poison over the fence again someday ; I could not protect them. So I let them live their lives, until it kills them.

I can imagine the look Lilly would have given me if I had tried to keep her on a lease for our walks. I’m sure she would have sat down in the dirt and refused to accompany me in such a degrading position, she was very good at getting her point across.

Good bye Little Bear…I will always save the heart for you…

 

I will return when I can feel that anything is very simple, very easy, or very good again.

 

 

 

Special Edition

When I was a little girl my grandmother recited and read poetry to me. I have her to thank for my love of poetry. Today for her 90th birthday, I recite my favorite from her repertoire, The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear.

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I love you Grandma, thank you for the gift of poetry…and the chocolate pudding, and all the wonderful philosophical conversations. If only they’d ask us 🙂

The Fourth Ship

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Some fantasize about leaving their reasonable lives of routine and moving to an exotic land . I dream about being an accountant. If only my passion was the tidy logic of columns and sums, not the metaphor of alchemy or search for meaning in a swallow’s cursive scrawl, I would not have to leave the comfort of my couch, my book, my afghan– hunting epiphany.

As much as I long for security and stasis, I must risk. The self that roils within does not allow for security. I must throw myself into the wind , seek the impractical but passionate dream— hazard failure without remorse.

I dive and fall, and trust life to carry me to the surface, for I too, am the fourth ship.

I recite, Carmen Tafollas, Voyage.

Which ship are you?

 For the next several weeks, vsvevg will be published from the United States of America.

The Bliss of Solitude

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This post is a riddle; can you guess what poem I recite before you view the link? No fair reading the tags!  Hint: Don’t forget the title and the image.

I’ve stayed away from “best loved poems” in this project,  but when I saw this title, which is also the first line, in my Poetry Magazine App , though I knew the line well, as likely you do too, I’d never actually read it.

I’ve had difficulty warming to poems from previous centuries  and verse is not my favorite form. To me, sometimes the metaphors sound trite, the message overly sentimental. But when I read this week’s poem, an experience I had while on my poet’s walk flashed on that inward eye and inspired me to memorize it. I wrote the following, a homage, to recall my experience and give you a final clue.

 

I left the house a little low to walk away my mood

When round the curve that brilliant morn, scores

of angelic butterflies emerged

They flew around me tickertaped, like all of life

was made for me, and when I need their remedy

I close my eyes and fly away.

 

Hear the mystery poem here!

Did you guess correctly?