Archive for January, 2009

Twilight Dog – poem seed

January 20, 2009

I came across a lovely haibun in the latest issue of Contemporary Haibun Online. It’s by Lisa Timpf, and she’s given me permission to reproduce it here.

Farewell to an Old Friend 

I can still remember the moment I knew with certainty that the day was drawing near. 

I was walking the dogs in the shiver of a pre-dawn morning when I saw a meteor slowly, almost lazily, etching a silver trail across the sky. I knew from the meteor and the frost on the fallen leaves, the frost that matched the whiteness spreading across her muzzle and her face, that the time for farewells was approaching. 

Considering I had a year’s warning, I should have been ready. 

But of course I was not. 


It seems a shabby way to say goodbye to an old and most dear friend, tossing dirt over a sheet-wrapped husk that once was home to a loyal heart, and I wonder where she is now; whether she has crossed that bridge of many colours; whether she will chase the golden sun across the sky as if it were nothing more than a giant tennis ball tossed by the gods for her amusement; whether somewhere, somehow her soul is entering the body of a newborn border collie pup about to take its first gasping breaths. 


Later, I will take solace in the photos that show how gaunt she had become, how her eyes were misted with pain. But for now, there is only guilt and sadness for the quickness of the passing years, the unappreciated times that have flowed, irretrievably, down that river we can never step in quite the same way again, no matter how we might long to do so. 

Bare branches, grey sky 
And the honking 
Of a solitary goose.

There’s a poem I’ve been going to write for years now, but have never quite managed to get started. About Heidi – our family dog when I was growing up, who grew very old, very rickety. For a variety of reasons, she was the only one of our dogs who made it to old age. Actually I think she’s the only dog I know who made it to old age. So many are injured, or get sick, or die from some other cause before their time. As a species, dogs have done very well by teaming up with humans. But as individuals …



The photo above is of Heidi at age 17. She died not long after this photo was taken. The French have a lovely phrase for twilight – le tempts entre chien et loup; “the hour between dog and wolf”. And this was very much Heidi’s twilight.

Lots of possibilities.