(This one is about our dog, Bela, who died last year. Alas.)
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PULI AND A MAN
It is just about 3 degrees Fahrenheit,
according to the thermometer on our back porch.
And the wind is blowing, oh, I'd say
about 15 miles an hour.
The ice has iced over a couple of times
and every thing wood and metal creaks
from the cold.
Puli dogs were built for weather like this.
When Attila left the steppes of Mongolia
to cross the know world,
conquering everything in his pat,
(raping and pillaging along the way)
he already had dogs
that had survived cold that killed horses,
camels, oxen and men.
Hungary, in the deepest winter of those years
we think of as long, long, long ago,
was like moving from Connecticut to Florida
for the Hun's dogs.
Their tangled, cording hair--black as midnight,
or two a.m.--kept them warm,
made them think Budapest was tropical
compared to the gales in winter
off the steppes.
That is the difference between a Puli dog,
and an aging white man
In the back yard, he runs in circles,
pausing only to eat ice and snow,
guarding sheep that are not there
from wolves that don't exist.
He finds a mound of ice
and splays himself on it,
feeling the genetic connection,
the DNA link, the marrow deep instinct of his breeding.
Then he grabs a stick and runs to the edge of the yard,
stopping to bark for me to come chase him
And I, wrapped in clothes that will take five minutes
to rid myself of back inside,
call to him to return
to what aging, white men love:
central heat, fireplaces, hot coffee.
Eventually he will return--even if that means
I have to go and get him,
playing 'catch me if you can'
all the way back to the porch.
He could fall asleep nestled in ice and snow,
while I would simply die of hypothermia.
That, if nothing else (and there is much else indeed!)
distinguishes me for my Puli....
Or, more accurately,
distinguishes the Puli
from his man.
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