by Sarah Mitchell
Jack Russell, Patterdale
Heart of a lion, stamina of a tank.
Abused and rescued: three families before you joined us five years ago.
Solver of problems, keeper of the gate.
I’m his staff – he’s my best mate.
He can read my mind, manipulate my actions.
Knows my voice, has learnt to spell.
Consoler of my soul, through that long dark night,
When thirty six hours stretched to forty eight years
As I waited to hear if my man was Covid positive.
You stayed with me, never left my side.
Your nose on my arm.
Lying at my side.
As together we drifted through that terrible time.
But with the morning and the sun, we rose, went out and the words came through.
He was clear.
And you licked the tears from my face.
Walking through the woods,
We reach the crest of the rise.
The dog stands stock still and points.
I follow his gaze – and catch my breath
At the sight of you – glowing in the light.
A young stag and his hind,
Daintily, delicately poised “en-pointe”
With your coats rippled in the dappling morning sun.
I tried to slow my heart beat
Tried to stretch out time.
But I blinked – and you left.
So did I – my heart up lifted by your beauty.
I saw just one – a perfect jewel.
A glowing red and black spotted Burnett
Displaying on a white lacy flower.
I then expanded my view
And saw a hundred more
Red and black petals rising to the sky.