Thursday, December 8, 2016

Between the ivy and the big rhododendron

Yesterday morning in the kitchen we were talking about our old cat, Joe, and how at peace with the world he was in his declining years, which he spent in our backyard staring off into space, simply listening and taking it all in — the bird song, the sounds of the neighborhood, the opening and closing of doors — and what good fortune it was for him, and for us, that he was so calm and secure in his present absence and absent presence. He died and was buried on a cold night in November. I rake over him every so often, lightly, through the fir needles and birch leaves between the ivy and the big rhododendron, near the massive fir root that keeps his grave from floating off into space, and when I do I always think of him, his life, and his funny ways, and know that he too was, and remains, one of the countless angels in our lives. And anyone who thinks human life has more value than a fellow creature’s of this earth, is sadly missing the value of his own. But that misunderstanding can change in an instant, and will, and the revelation will be grand — like a poet’s cup of tea when the last and best of him is up in steam.


Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

As Alice said: “Curiouser and curiouser…”.

We have both noted the many unusual coincidences in our lives: the birth years of our mothers and great-grandmothers, our mutual love of words, poetry and Nature, our resemblance to Walt Whitman (or ZZ Top). So, I have to tell you that I, too, have a cat named Joe.

One morning my wife went outside and there he was, on the back porch table, snacking on the Kitty Krunchies we leave out for the other cats (and also the ‘possums, lately, we’ve noticed). I named him Joe after the song ‘Cotton-eyed Joe’: “Where’d you come from, where’d you go? Where’d you come from, Cotton-eyed Joe?”. Also because he is gray and white and has white patches on his face around his eyes.

I was going to tell you about the other 25 cats we’ve had over the years (many graves), but I’m getting tired so I will just leave you with poem:


You know that I love you,
but you're becoming a nuisance.
You arrive every place that I am;
come in the car window or
jump on my lap, demand
constant attention, constant
stroking and cooing, needing
to know, insisting, that you're the only
thing in the world that's important.

You know that I love you
Because you're so much like me.

Copyright 2008 – HARDWOOD: 77 Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

William Michaelian said...

Nice. I’m tired too, so I will just say thank you. That comes, of course, with a bearded, satisfied nod.