I have an old dog named Chamberlain,
We work together on nights Allie is away,
He’s blind in his left eye and he walks sideways,
Toward me as I sit hunched over the old Olivetti,
That I use to type poems on,
It’s in the corner of the sun porch that Allie,
Closed in last summer to keep out the snow.
He leans against me for support,
Old yellow head on my flannel pajamas,
Tongue hanging out. I feel his breath through the plaid,
He’s old and dying, but we both ignore it,
Dying is a rite of passage, like being born in a litter,
Or being born an orphan, or even like finding,
Yourself trapped, in years of late,
In an old farmhouse – up in the Poconos.
Rites of passage, they kill us in the end.
Allie comes home from work at twelve thirty and finds us,
Me, the Olivetti, Chamberlain, and an unfinished poem.
Allie makes a fried egg sandwich for us,
And we eat it on the porch.
Chamberlain licks my paper plate clean when we’re done,
After that we all watch tv until dawn,
The unfinished poem waits for another day.
Before we go to bed, Allie cups her hands over his ears,
She draws his face close to hers, and says,
“He’s 98 in dog years, if he makes it three more weeks”.
Ed’s Note: I have not written much poetry in recent years, but I used to write quite a bit of it. I am in the process of sifting through a lot of the old stuff, seeing what I want to keep and what I don’t. My collection, titled “Wearing Earth Tones in a Savage Land” is in the works and will appear here for a nominal price (like free) in a few weeks.
I’m looking forward to your collection. This lovely poem and your gravatar picture remind me of a song.
. . . A good hat, a good dog, a good boat . . .
You can live a life of grace and ease
If you set these priorities: a good hat, a good dog, a good boat.
— by “Them Eastport Oyster Boys”
(And, I would add, someone to make and share with you a fried egg sandwich!)
I am not familiar with that song, Hippie Cathier, but I am going to look for it — I like it already! Thank you for reading. I am trying to put this collection together, as time allows. Hopefully I will get some time to devote to it soon. Thank you so much for reading, and for commenting.
Your poem made me weep for my Mud. Please finish more.
I have had dogs all my life.I have loved them all, and I have had to say goodbye to them. If I had to shed tears for a movie role, all I would have to do is think of the loss of a dog. It is the worst.