house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Ross was my brother's dog, a beautiful collie. Kind, strong, playful, protective, a big softie. Ross died last week of old age, they say.

In his life, Ross
found Mihai and Cristina
he was as small as a fox cub then, with a pointed nose and a coat
white and gold and warm and rich
with ripples of muscle underneath
and deeper, a heart like a billowing sail
eager to carry us all across our oceans.

In his life, Ross
looked after Kira from the moment he first saw her, the little baby
with the raspberry birthmark on her back.
He watched her when she slept. He never left her side.

He played, always, with Nikita; he'd follow Nikita around with an old, chewed up tennis ball because he knew the boy was a sweet, kind-hearted softie too, who would throw him the ball without ever tiring or getting bored or angry.

In his life, Ross
ate a lot of yogurt and beef stew and soup
made friends with small and silly pets including birds, fish and cats
but hated the neighbour's alsatian,

waited for Mihai to get home
waited for Cristina to get home
waited for us to visit.

In his life, Ross
went to the mountains many times
ran across meadows in bloom
drank from streams
slept right under the silver umbrella
of every full moon
and dreamt of rabbits,
swam in the lake
and, one day, discovered
that the Black Sea is salty and strong.

Children loved Ross
and Ross loved them back, unfailing and more.

In his life Ross
never knew floods or hurricanes
but understood lightning and hailstones
deep blizzards, icicles and snow;
he didn't feel the earth quake
but lived through the fear and confusion, once,
of a total eclipse of the sun.

Would that final sleep have been the same?
A sudden silence of birds,
Darkening dusk,
a momentary numbness,

and a return?

Could Ross be back then, already, somewhere?
A puppy again?
Look for him Mihai, you'll know him - and if you don't
then he'll know you,
that much I know.

Otherwise what will you do
with all those old chewed up tennis balls
left behind
all around your garden?


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