It was our neighbor's canine, "Houdini," who inspired today's poem.
"Houdini" enjoyed lying in the back yard, belly to the sun, dreaming, no doubt, of some great escapades ... or of being suddenly nose-to-nose with a wandering raccoon ... or of catching the squirrels stealing food.
Or perhaps only soaking up the sun.
But it was "Houdini" who set in motion a series of memories of my own canine pals from my growing-up years. They enjoyed the sun, too. They also enjoyed exploring the hills around my boyhood home, and they were always ready to head out on some new adventure with me.
Sometimes, though, they were tired. At my approaching footsteps, the head would be lifted slightly, I would receive a look of recognition, the tail would thump-thump-thump a few times on the ground, and the head would be lowered again to sleeping position, presumably to pick up the loose threads of some interrupted dream.
I still miss those early companions.
I miss "Houdini," too. Always the good neighbor, "Houdini" only barked at me once ... when the family was moving in next door.
A quiet word from the owner, and that was that. I couldn't help admiring that kind of restraint. I'm sure there were times ... in all those years that we co-existed ... when I must have deserved a good barking at.
And the picture? Sorry, I don't have a photo of "Houdini." Instead, today we share a photo of shadows ... a subject that I find intriguing ... restful ... soothing.
Thank you for stopping by ... and "Houdini," this one is for you:
OLD DOG ASLEEP
Sprawled like a tired
old tree toppled against
the slope of the hill,
your belly soaking up
afternoon sun, tail wilted
to earth, ear twitching,
plucking at the sound
of my footsteps; what
memories we share,
old pal, how alike, now,
our dreams must be.
(originally published in Midwest Poetry Review)
Today's word: toppled