In Memory of a Well-Loved Dog by Richard Merli

What riotous colors the heavens have shed.
Gone is the warmth of late summer’s days,
The languorous hum from the flower beds,
The honeybees who carried sweet nectar away.

What’s become of the perfumed tea rose?
And the sweet melody of our visitor, the lark?
And the petals where you pressed your nose?
Your image is like a ghost in the dark.

Even the rose has but a brief season.
You need not even wonder why.
Nature maintains her own secret reasons,
As the seed foretells the flower’s demise.

In this dormant bed of phlox,
There’s a place no flowers will ever grow.
I buried you there in an old wooden box
Only you and I and the wind will know.

The twilight soon gives birth to dark.
But the house is strangely quiet and still.
There are no familiar woofs or barks.
There are empty places you once filled.

There’s your old collar, lying empty.
There is your leash, wound and still;
Your empty bowl, once filled with plenty;
And there, by the fireplace, your tartan quilt.

I will always cherish the gift you gave:
The purest, most unconditional love.
These memories are all I have to save:
Every woof, every lick, every playful shove.

Was there ever a single day
You were not happy to see my face?
The pride and pleasure you took away
Just to be at my side, keeping pace.

No one trained you in what to do.
You became what you were destined to be:
My faithful companion, who read all my moods,
Who would lay down her very life for me.

I have yet more decades to live;
Your life was but 12 years long.
Your heart gave all it had to give.
I often wonder how I’ll carry on.

Sometimes, on sun-dappled winter days,
I return alone to this hallowed ground.
Winter’s breath has swept all the colors away.
In slumber, the quiet of loneliness resounds.

I pray that our Maker raise up your soul,
Let every ray of sun warm your bones,
That, in life eternal, you grow ripe and old,
And you find the love you knew at home.

Your images will go on haunting me.
But you’re a part of all things past,
Yet I hold it as my dying creed
Someday, we’ll be reunited at last.


3 thoughts on “In Memory of a Well-Loved Dog by Richard Merli

  1. ericamilesx

    Though I loved all the pieces in the magazine, this particular poem meant the most to me. Such an endearing portrait of a relationship between a human and his animal companion, so sensitively written, so accurately observed. What can I say? It touched me. An exquisite piece of writing.


  2. Bill Batcher

    So refreshing to see a poet use traditional rhyme and meter to express his message; and it is a message many of us can relate to all too clearly.

    Liked by 1 person


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