Poems's Archive

Barb: Spot, a poem

Friday, August 1st, 2008

August 1, 2008 – Humid, warm. We went to see Barb today, up in the Adirondacks, always a beautiful and evocative drive. Barb said she missed us, and I remembered it had been a couple of weeks since we had made it up to see her. She is tired, and she wanted to sit with Izzy for a bit, and stroke him, as many people seem to want to do. We talked, and caught up, and I felt the responsibility of hospice, which is that you never feel comfortable postponing or delaying a visit, and struggle sometimes to keep up. I was glad that Barb missed us, and also felt badly about it.
  Barb is a sweet and unfailingly generous person, and I don’t want her missing anything she needs that we can provide. Izzy is much in demand now, a different reality than at first, when the idea of a hospice dog was strange.  And I know we can’t do everything and go everywhere. But when you see what Izzy does, you want to do it, as often as  you can. Something to watch out for.

I told Barb I was going to browbeat a poem, out of her, and I got one:

My husband Bill worked in a firehouse in Long Island,
and it was on an air force base, and people were always moving,
and leaving their dogs behind, and they all eventually
made their way to the firehouse.
And Bill really took to one, and we called him Spot, and he was a mutt,
and he hated garbagemen, because they used to throw things at  him,
and he would chase their trucks,
and one day he disappeared, and was gone for days
and we thought he was lost, and then 
a few weeks later, Bill called from the firehouse, 
and he said you’ll never guess, and I said what?
and he said Spot is here. He made it all the way.
And the firehouse was 45 miles from our house.

“Ghosts,” by Warren, a poem

Sunday, July 27th, 2008


Izzy and Warren

  July 27, 2008 – Izzy and I made four different hospice visits today, and all of them were powerful and worthwhile. I have never made that many in one day and normally wouldn’t, but there were extenuating circumstances in all four cases, and this was in so many ways an important day, and full of meaning. In between visits, I rushed out and took photos because I needed to.
    Izzy was heroic. I am resting Lenore in the heat, because she gets restless and hot being in the truck so much in that kind of weather, whereas Izzy is always the same, rain or sun, heat or cold.
  I want to post a bit about all of these visits, but first I want to share a poem Warren and I worked on this morning, about remembering his wife Helen, who died several months ago after 60 years of marriage:

  “Ghosts” by Warren 

 ”Thinking about things,
  I hear Helen, in my mind’s eye,
  giving me advice.
  We always discussed things,
  it’s just as if she were still here,
  out of the corner of my eye,
  I see her.

  I’ll her a noise and it’s Helen,
  she’s in the kitchen
  doing things, puttering around.

  It’s not the least bit frightening,
  she’s a good ghost.

  When there is a financial decision to be
  made we discuss it.
  I know it’s in my mind,
  it’s like a ghost,
  talking to me.

  Rustling in the kitchen,
  working in the living room,
  sorting things upstairs.
  When there’s a brilliant display of lightning,
  I hear her comment, about common sense things,
  “we better be sure things are unplugged.” 
  and from the kitchen, looking out the window,
  I can see her in the garden, and when I go out
  there I always say “hi, sweetheart,”
  and she says, “hi.’”