Fresh Sorrow: Saying Good-bye to a Pet

I was in Moscow, Idaho staying with a friend when I got the call from my former husband that my first pet and dear springer spaniel Nikki had died.  He asked me if he could bury her behind our former house in the orchard where she used to love to run and hunt pheasants. He asked me if he could wrap her in her favorite blanket. I remember mumbling yes and yes. He only had visitation rights since he left us. It only seemed fair.I remember going into the shower to sob in privacy. I also went for a long walk to mourn a bit longer. It was a long time before I completely recovered. When I reread Jane Kenyon's  The Blue Bowl this evening I understood all that she was saying. Since I have moved to my present house there are many pets that have been buried on the property.

The Blue Bowl

by Jane Kenyon

Like primitives we buried the cat
with his bowl. Bare-handed
we scraped sand and gravel
back into the hole.
                             They fell with a hiss
and thud on his side,
on his long red fur, the white feathers
between his toes, and his
long, not to say aquiline, nose.

We stood and brushed each other off.
There are sorrows keener than these.

Silent the rest of the day, we worked,
ate, stared, and slept. It stormed
all night; now it clears, and a robin
burbles from a dripping bush
like the neighbor who means well
but always says the wrong thing.
Jane Kenyon, “The Blue Bowl” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by Jane Kenyon. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.
Source: Poetry (June 1987).

1 comment:

  1. I am so very sorry. I know how difficult this is --- having gone through this many times myself. Each time is the worst and you wonder how you can ever recover and adjust. My heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry.


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