Sunday, April 3, 2011




"I am I because my little dog knows me."
Gertrude Stein
A bench at the Central Park Zoo. N.Y.C

Winter Garden
Translated by William O'Daly 

I love Pablo Neruda's poem (from Winter Garden} about the death of his dog-companion, the simplicity, and depth of that relationship, the feeling his matter-of-fact tone, with it's restraint, and eloquent plain talk, evokes..."not too deep, not too shallow" - and -  "with no more intimacy than necessary."  The ends are, indeed the hard part.  I weep a little, still, each time I read it, type it, or perform it, nostalgic for all the dogs of my life, who came and went their merry way to dissolution, not to be forgotten, until my own memory dissolves.

A Dog Has Died
by Pablo Neruda

My dog has died.

I buried him in the garden
beside a rusty old engine.

There, not too deep,
not too shallow,
he will greet me sometime.
He already left with his coat,
his bad manners, his cold nose.
And I, a materialist who does not believe
in the starry heaven promised
to a human being,
for this dog and for every dog
I believe in heaven, yes, I believe in a heaven
that I will never enter, but he waits for me
wagging his big fan of a tail
so I, soon to arrive, will feel welcomed.

No, i will not speak about my sadness on earth
at not having him as a companion anymore,
he never stooped to become my servant.
He offered me the friendship of a sea urchin
who always kept his sovereignty,
the friendship of an independent star
with no more intimacy than necessary.
with no exaggerations:
he never used to climb over my clothes
covering me with hair or with mange,
he never used to rub against my knee
like other dogs, obsessed with sex.
No, my dog used to watch me,
giving me the attention I need,
yet only the attention necessary
to let a vain person know
that he being a dog,
with those eyes, more pure than mine,
was wasting time, but he watched,
with a look that reserved for me
every bit of sweetness, his shaggy life,
his silent life,
sitting nearby, never bothering me,
never asking anything of me.

Oh, how many times I wanted to have a tail
walking next to him on the seashore,
in the Isla Negra Winter,
in the vast solitude: above us
glacial birds pierced the air,
and my dog frolicking, bristly hair, full
of the sea's voltage in motion.
my dog wandering and sniffing around,
brandishing his golden tail
in the face of the ocean and its spume.

O, merry, merry, merry,
like only dogs know how to be happy
and nothing more, with an absolute
shameless nature.
There are no goodbyes for my dog who has died.
And there never were any and are no lies between us.

He has gone and I buried him, and that was all.


  Introducing Marie
who chose Dominic at Echo Park
Los Angeles
The Toulouse is a breed of domesticated goose originating near Toulouse, France. It is a large bird, with a weight of up to 9 kg, and is known for it's ponderous appearance and large dewlaps. The original grey coloured breed is a very old one and the name has been recorded back as far as 1555. The breed was first brought to the United Kingdom by Lord Derby in 1840, who imported some of them to England, and from then onwards the French Toulouse were used as breeding stock with the consequence that by 1894, English breeders had produced a massive bird. The 'Toulouse' in France, although kept in greater numbers, have never quite equaled such weights.   Marie is  quite singular in her behavior amongst the flock that inhabits Echo Park, she stands apart from them since she has chosen her mate from another species


"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge."
-Thomas Carlyle-

No comments: