For Lometa’s Perfect Puppy I submit 2 poems by Pablo Neruda; Ode the the dog and A Dog Has Died.
This puppy will have to be copyright compliant, because Lometa wouldn’t have a non-compliant puppy! This means I’ll have to cut the quoted words down to less than 200 for each work and that IS difficult because the whole poems are so beautiful. SO, I’ll try to pick the words that seem to most apply to Lometa.
The first poem appears in Odes to Common Things by Pablo Neruda. As with all the poems in this book we are first treated to the Spanish, Oda al perro, then the English translation: Full of wonderful illustrations by Ferris Cook (including 2 really cute dogs) one is left wanting more. And more there is, Ferris Cook has authored and illustrated another book called Bark: Selected Poems About Dogs.
Ode to the dog
The dog is asking me a question
and I have no answer.
He dashes through the countryside and asks me
and his eyes
are two moist question marks, two wet
Dog and man: together we roam
The open countryside.
Neruda roamed the countryside with his dog. In fact he met his third wife, Matilde Urratia, while walking in Parque Forest in Santiago, Chile. One of the things Lometa really misses is her walks beside a canine friend.
The dog makes stops,
leaps over restless water,
listens to far-off
pees on a rock,
and presents me the tip of his snout
as if it were a gift:
it is the freshness of his love,
his message of love.
And he asks me
with both eyes:
why is it daytime? why does night always fall?
why does spring bring
in its basket
for wandering dogs
but useless flowers?
This is how the dog
and I do not reply.
Poor dog with his Spring basket of useless flowers… I think Lometa’s puppy will like flowers.
a gust of orangey air,
the murmuring of roots,
life on the move,
breathing and growing,
and the ancient friendship,
of being dog or being man
fused in a single beast
that pads along on
its dew-wet tail.
This reminded me of my friend Lometa and her dogs, Kiki, Sam, Sasha, Pepper and Cosmos. She has written many times of the value she found walking with those dogs and their devotion to her. A puppy for Lometa will need to …ask questions while roaming the desert because Lometa needs to give answers, to us and to those she loves in her doggy space. She will answer the new puppy’s questions, just as she did the old ones; with love and affection, while walking in the desert.
The second poem appeared in Poetry Magazine and I pulled it off their website.
A Dog Has Died
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.
In the second poem Neruda talks again about the gaze of his dog. Lometa’s new puppy will gaze at her with adoration, for that is what a well loved dog does, and this puppy will be loved, for that is what Lometa does.
Odes to Common Things by Pablo Neruda (A Bulfinch Press Book)