A Poem: I Wonder

By: zoetnetCC BY 2.0

Even as you sit in judgement of my colour, my clothing, the way I walk,  how I talk, of my tattoos and my piercings. I wonder.

Even as you deny my humanness and create for me a false history of menace and incivility from your dim view of something I said or didn’t say. I wonder.

I wonder why your world is so small when your mind is capable of endless curiosity

Even as you condemn me for loving someone just like me, or for not loving someone just like you. I wonder.

Even as you deny my freedoms when recognising them makes you no less free. I wonder.

Even as you commit crimes against my person, my name and against truth. I wonder.

I wonder what crime was committed against you to turn your heart so cold when it seeks only to dance in the beautiful warmth of fellowship.

I wonder who judged you the way you judge me. Who didn’t love you the way I want you to love me?

 

I wonder all these things and and I am sad.

 


I wrote this in a moment of deep empathy for all of those who are the victims of the judgement of others – from Oprah to emos. From muslims to orthodox jews.

A Dog Has Died

A dog has died
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.

So now he’s gone and I buried him,
and that’s all there is to it.

Translated, from the Spanish, by Alfred Yankauer

Pablo Neruda
(Sourced from: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-dog-has-died/)

Why I Love This Poem

I have had dogs for most of my life.
Even now, I feel a void in my existence without one.
And I love Neruda. I imagine him as uncle Pablo. He has such a beautiful mastery of language, yet he is very matter of fact.
I can imagine strolling with him through the streets of Santiago or Paris, talking extraordinarily about the ordinary!

This poem reminds me of dogs I have been privileged to have in my life. That I have loved and have loved me. You only need to sit with a dog on your lap, contemplating life,  to comprehend a simple yet full and total bliss.

I am reminded of play, of the freedom to be myself – never being judged or judging.

‘A dog has died’ also transports me back to moments of deep sadness and loneliness with only my dog has my companion – who listened and somehow was deeply empathic.Even now I weep.
Yet when, one by one my dogs died, there is a practical aspect to it, they must be buried and mourned. But life goes on.

Neruda surely felt the same about his dog. Deep connection, love and affection, yet in the end, moving on.

All relationships shape us.  I learnt much about empathy from my dogs. Much about non-verbal communication too.

That is all there is to it.  And that is why I love ‘A dog has died’.

You?

What do you think of ‘A dog has died’?

What memories do you have of the animal companions that you have had?
In what ways have those relationships shaped you?

What are your favorite poems and why do you love them?

I would really love to share them. (and if you don’t currently read poetry, this is a perfect time to start)

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Why I Love This Poem

Often when I get physically/mentally/emotionally overwhelmed, the next thing that comes along can just tip me into total exhaustion.
When this happens, I feel defeated by everything, unable to rise to the challenge before me. I want to just be alone, to lick my wounds and be still, to be silent and be unnoticed. I want to rest and recover.
All of which are sometimes hard to do in a bustling house and running a startup.

At these times, I read Invictus and I am emotionally renewed, almost immediately. I may not physically be stronger, but mentally and emotionally, Invictus recharges me.

Invictus acknowledges how bloody hard life can be, for some and sometimes, downright brutal. It recognises that life is unpredictable and , truly, we control very little that affects us. Yet, like a rock on a tumultuous coast, one remains determined and independent, shaped by life but not be conquered by it.

Despite being very descriptive about the brutality of life and a little short on the joys that life can also bring, Invictus, for me, is about courage.

The courage to take responsibility for what one can, to do it humbly yet defiantly. Courage to be unshakeable even in the face of terrors of life – whatever they may be.

This courage feeds my hope and self belief that in the end I shall triumph against anything that life throws at me.

And that is why I love Invictus.

You?

What do you think of Invictus?

What do you take shelter in when life’s winds get stormy?

What are your favorite poems and why do you love them?

I would really love to share them. (and if you don’t currently read poetry, this is a perfect time to start)