“Oh, wisest of little dogs.” ~ Mary Oliver from “Percy (One)”

Alfie Portrait in Black and White

Alfie (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
May 2000 – May 2013
Brother of Shakes (William Shakespeare)


Day of Grief

I was forcing a wasp to the top of a window
where there was some sky and there were tiger lilies
outside just to love him or maybe only
simply a kiss for he was hurrying home
to fight a broom and I was trying to open
a door with one hand while the other was swinging
tomatoes, and you could even smell the corn
for corn travels by wind and there was the first
hint of cold and dark though it was nothing
compared to what would come, and someone should mark
the day, I think it was August 20th, and
that should be the day of grief for grief
begins then and the corn man starts to shiver
and crows too and dogs who hate the wind
though grief would come later and it was a relief
to know I wasn’t alone, but be as it may,
since it was cold and dark I found myself singing
the brilliant love songs of my other religion.

~ Gerald Stern


Music by Anderson East, featuring Jill Andrews, “Say Anything”



6 thoughts on ““Oh, wisest of little dogs.” ~ Mary Oliver from “Percy (One)”

  1. Was Alfie a little italian greyhound? I ask because I have one. Just found your blog, and I must say that I feel that I will very enjoy reading it. Sometimes it is difficult to articulate my feelings, but some of your posts make me feel at home inside. I will look forward to reading them. Hope i didn’t misspell anything or use incorrect grammar. I you don’t get me for it, my mother will. She always corrects our family as well.

    1. Welcome! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Alfie was a purebred Jack Russell Terrier, and he was all terrier.

      Don’t worry. I would never correct someone’s grammar on here unless they asked me to do so. Hope you come back.

  2. Lita, we can no more keep dogs well and healthy than we can keep ourselves well and healthy. We all battle things we cannot see. Why feel guilty? The vet told me a story about a woman with a cat with fibrosarcoma (what Halona had); she paid for the very expensive chemotherapy and the cat died two weeks later. You did enough.

    1. There was no way that Alfie could have survived the intense treatment that he needed, even if we could have afforded it. I know this on the intellectual level, but as we both know, I rarely skate along that level, preferring pure emotion to reality.

  3. I’m sorry, my dear. We love them a while and then we have to let them go. But we give them good lives and good love. Who could do a better job? There will always be a new season of pups who need shelter from this world – how could we not sign up for this job (look at those eyes!), even given the biting sorrow at the end?

    1. Oh the guilt. Always the guilt about not doing enough. But you’re right. Even with the pain that comes with having pets, I cannot imagine every having a time in my life in which I would not willingly choose to have at least one.

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