This fall, Sounds True is publishing a box set of teaching conversations based on the poems in my book Reduced to Joy. The poems are the teachers and unfold the journey from our head to our heart. For the next two months, I’m happy to be previewing poems and reflections from the box set.
We recently lost our beloved dog-child Mira, a yellow-lab whose eyes you could live in and whose breathing touch had become home. It’s been a hard loss. I found this poem I wrote when we first brought her home over thirteen years ago.
For Nine-Week-Old Mira
I know, I know. There’s bacon in the sink
and my slipper to shred. And that Shepherd
smell three houses down. But sleep, my puppy.
There will be other leaves to chase and sticks
to chew. You miss nothing when you sleep
but what it is to see you sleep: your lashes
twitting, your small eyes in dream, your
doggish yips, your belly in and out.
We watch you: pure eyes, pure run,
pure lick. Always needing to have
some part touch. Sleep, sweet puppy.
When you sleep, you stall us
into a softness we forget.
A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a friend or a loved one, tell the story of a lesson you’ve learned from an animal.