A Dreaming Dog

A poem I wrote when my beloved dog Shulky died of old age.
I am the dog they call Shulky, I've never figured quite why. Didn't matter much anyway. Whenever someone yelled "Shulky" - I went. Running. But that was when I used to be young. A young 'un with a wag in my tail.

That was some years back.

These days, with my hair sprouting like dry tendrils of grass, I'm more circumspect. When called, I lift my head inquiringly, more often than not. More often than not I find that I had been quite right. In not going running. To the called command. My days of nimble running are over. And done with. As you've probably gathered -

I'm getting on in years, some.

These days, I go out, with a lumbering gait, and sit in the corner of the garden - The corner that gets the first cool breeze - Under the stunted Laburnum tree - Spraying the sky with golden yellow flowering sprigs. And I look at the egg yolk moon. And something in my now sluggish blood stirs.

A howl swirls in my throat and dies.

I read instead the messages being sung - A crescendo of speaking voices from my kith and my kin. Kinfolk all, with singing voices. Singing a symphony in the great opera house. The moon listens too in a yellow hush - And weaves amongst the stars - And suddenly gets caught in the entangled branches of the stunted Laburnum tree.

And the yolk runs fluid all over the dry ash sky.

Summer is here. I lift my nostrils and sniff the air - Not a whisper of a breeze. All is still. The bald earth throbs below with the heat. The sun has gone down but has left behind his pulsing heartbeat. My eyes close shut.

And I doze in a liquid yellow dream.

From far, far away I hear a voice call - "Shulky" - A well-known voice from the liquid yellow room behind. And my heart fills with the dry ash of the night and the quiet. My bones are heavy and tired - My breath labored - My eyes dimmed. It is time to rest.

I try to tell that familiar voice calling me.

Again - "Shulky" - And though I feel a presence beside me - The voice sounds as if from far, far away. A long, long distance away. The great journey has begun. And it is time to carry on dreaming the dream.

The never-ending dream of a dreaming dog.
By Rita Putatunda
Published: 9/12/2007
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