New bed

After years of sterling service for five human children, the cot mattress has passed to child number six. It’s just about long enough, but it wasn’t designed for galgo legs. Mind you, we bought the biggest dog basket in existence, and that wasn’t either.

Meanwhile, back in our/the cats’ bedroom…

Sleeping dogs

Sleeping dogs

Sleep, that knits up all those loosened threads
and ragged cares, repairs the body’s decline
and sets tired bones quiet, untroubled,
becomes a joy the young hound never knew.

He lies, racing in dreams those boundless fields,
soft breathing, paws twitching,
content to nose the sun on waking,
walk sedately through the dry grass

and remember other mad times,
green and hot-blooded times,
when heart, legs and supple spine
gave him the power of flight.

Update on the eye and the sighthound

Four trips to the hospital, another two programmed for my eye, but it seems to be responding to the treatment. We’ll know what the damage is by the end of October when the inflammation ought to have completely subsided.
Now I can concentrate on Finbar. He’s going downhill very fast now. He did everything too fast. I looked at the Oracle, and she told me what she sees. Not consolation or false hopes. Quel che sarà, sarà.

Even friends we love slip into the shadows,
little by little, one unsteady step after the next.
No imperious cry can stop them
when the ears no longer prick at the sound of their name.
No tongue has the words
to hold back the inevitable end.

We watch the blue above,
how it spreads its clouds
untroubled by the tears below,

and all the honey sweet scents are rank;
the day is red with impotent anger.

The spring will not come again.
There is no sweet in the bitter of this sleep,
only the sadness of never.

Another birthday

Photo taken at Christmas

Today is Finbar’s official birthday. A guesstimate by the vet when he was brought to the shelter, since nobody knows when he was born. For lunch he had his usual ‘soup’ of rice, lentils, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes with a portion of minced beef. Today, his soup had an added chicken stock cube, and as a birthday treat his meal was garnished with a boiled egg and a slice of Cantal cheese. You’re not fourteen every day.

Time flows in concentric circles or parallel tracks running at different speeds, the stars we see, the stars we don’t, light issuing from present darkness. For dogs, time races in the fast lane.

gloomy day
of false summer—leaves hang
waiting for the rain

Haibun for a non-event

Well, the vet phoned to say he hadn’t been able to do Finbar and could we take him home please, bring him back next week sometime. Two emergencies came in, more deserving cases, traffic accidents  (one death under the knife). What can you say? Finbar isn’t priority, he just has a useless, annoying lump. In a way I’m pleased he isn’t priority. So we brought him home. He had his lunch, went for a walk to check it’s all where he left it, and now he’s sleeping. There’s a questioning though, a hesitation in his gestures, because something different happened and he doesn’t know why. Was he bad? Was it a punishment? He’s dog napping, but he’s thinking about the why of it all, and will it happen again.

Cold wind blows, ­le bise

cherry blossom ghosts flutter—

the dark year deepens.



Daily poem: Cherita 23

I have just left Finbar with the vet. He has to have a non-malignant lump removed. It started to bleed and won’t heal up if he keeps licking it. Best to get rid of it altogether.

He’s been left with a vet often enough to have wounds stitched up, so he probably knows the routine by now—jab, icky feeling, long sleep, icky feeling, sore stitches—even if this is a new vet.  I’m feeling rotten because, intelligent as we are, there are some things we just can’t explain to a dog.


I hand the lead to the vet,


dog turns and in his eyes,

the single question—why?


So much we cannot say,

explain—he follows, unwillingly, afraid.

Trust betrayed.

All wrapped up

We can’t move for boxes now. I’ve packed up most of the kitchen utensils so I don’t know how we’re going to eat over the next few days. Still washing clothes, towels and bad linen and hoping it will all be dry enough to pack.

Trixie does not like having that little cat so close…

The little cat’s favourite perch.

Finbar obviously thinks it’s his turn for the bubble wrap treatment.

A room of one’s own

This, in 52 words is a description for Sacha Black of my ideal work place. With requested pics. In between the pics is a 52 word poem, added this minute as an afterthought. Two for the price of one.

I need a chair and a table and a laptop and an armchair for a dog and a window for light and a radiator for when it’s cold.

Birdsong beyond the window is nice and trees bending in the wind and at night a host of stars.

The last things aren’t necessary.

Room with laptop


There’s a dog in the chair by the window,

And a cat on the sill in the sun,

There’s a rose on the terrace in full bloom,

And the breeze sighs that summer’s begun.


All I need is enclosed in this still space,

My silence within makes it my place.


That’s all.


Room with dog