Bern and I went to Ikea and bought a new bed for one of our guest rooms. Bern, as always, is rearranging our house, our space, our lives.
In that room there was a large, two-drawer chest that came with us from Charleston to New Haven to Cheshire. Bern found all this stuff I wrote some 40 years ago in it. I'm still sifting through the stuff and realize a lot of it is melodramatic and lame. But I've come across some gems.
This poem I wrote, probably as a Sophomore in college after a visit home at Easter and a conversation with a high school friend who went into the coal mines after high school. He told me about his beagle's litter of pups and how he loved them so. They kept three of the six, selling the others to people they knew. My friend, unlike me, was an avid hunter. But his story about the puppies moved me to write this poem. It had no title then but I now call it "Going with the dogs"
I must now go down and see the swollen stream
and watch the waters rush down and down again.
And I'll loose my dogs--the three of them
and watch them run free as I sit on
the hilly knoll and look down to the thicket
and then to the swollen stream.
Perhaps there will be ants in the grass
and I will watch them too,
and dread the day that comes so surely
when the dogs will be hunters and their eyes will change.
For now they are like the swollen stream,
like Spring rain, like the grass--
free and wild and in their eyes I see no fear.
But the day comes surely when the older dogs
will teach them to be hunters
and their eyes will change.
That is the worst thing about the world--
the eyes. The eyes must change--
they must see life and hold tears
and be full of fear.
But today, the day that comes surely is not yet.
So I shall look at the swollen stream
and hide my eyes from the dogs as they play
for my eyes have changed already
and have had tears
and are afraid.
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