Teacher

 This poem was inspired by one written by a dear friend,
Cynthia Jobin.  Her poem was written in December last year
and is called “Beau”. Please visit Cynthia
to read her terrific poetry

You wander in and out
so slowly now,
painful limp of age,
a hip joint not quite what it was.
But your needs are few;
warm spot on the sofa,
promise of occasional fish,
a small patch outside
for private stuff and
a spoonful of fresh air –
your entire world
now on the space of a stamp.

And yet you waddle quite happily back in,
settle yourself on my knee
a purring little engine ticking over,
dribbling pleasure,
closing bliss-drenched eyes
as I stroke your chin.
We remember Christmas
how you played with a fallen bauble,
scored an invisible goal and you
looked at me as if to say,
I’ve still got it!

Do you crave anything at all,
your gone life, the lost wild?
I don’t think so;
you are not wired up like we are,
have no expectations.
You have nothing to re-learn

whereas I, on the other hand,
could learn much from you.

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53 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Through My Eyes
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 13:11:26

    I love the last line Christine. It’s so sad when animals get old poor little things. I dread the day my little toy poodle Ruby goes. She’s such a joy and loyal companion. A touching poem 🙂

    Reply

  2. Jackie
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 13:21:19

    A beautiful and poignant poem. It’s hard when our furrykids get old. Poppy is lucky to have you as a mom. Give her a stroke under the chin for me. XX

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 08, 2014 @ 13:31:32

      Thanks very much Jackie. It is hard, there’s absolutely no doubt about it. But at the moment Poppy seems very content. She is still eating well; I would go so far as to says she is quite greedy! She often waits to eat what our younger cat, Phoebe, leaves! 😊. I’ve just passed on your stroke under her chin, thank you! 😊 Xx

      Reply

  3. Ina
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 13:32:27

    Lovely poem Christine. It is sad when animals start to suffer, they can make up for so much in life 🙂 L&H xx

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 08, 2014 @ 13:46:26

      Thank you Ina. Yes it’s sad watching them go from sprinting down the garden to hardly doing anything. But Poppy is a litle trooper. I couldnt bear to live without animals, even more so since my diagnosis.They are my best fiends! As you say,they make up for so much in life. 😊 L&H xxxx

      Reply

  4. Cynthia Jobin
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 15:22:33

    Big lump in the throat this morning as I read this, Christine—for friendship, love of animals, compassion for all the suffering world. Beau is still with us, ever more frail, but with a voracious appetite and equanimity something like the patience of Job. He has no idea that we see aging as sorrowful, even as disease.

    Your “closing bliss drenched eyes as I stroke your chin” is brilliant even as the poem as a whole is so direct and eloquent. Thank you, too, for the recommendation. I don’t like to imagine my home ever without at least one fur person– they are indeed our teachers.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 08, 2014 @ 15:44:13

      Thank you so much Cynthia. Your poem “Beau” has simply never left me. And last week when I saw Poppy “venture” out to her little patch merely a few feet from the back door, and then toddle back in again, “Beau” sprang forward and this poem did too! I am happy for you that Beau is soldiering on, as is Poppy. They both seem, with their appetites maybe to have similar constitutions.

      I spend precious time doing meditation practice in the hope of acquiring an equanimity that they so naturally possess. Yes, they are our teachers. Thank you for the inspirtion and fhe friendship.

      Reply

  5. Peter Wells aka Countingducks
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 16:15:31

    This is a delicious piece, and I’m sitting in warm Spring sunshine reading it which adds to the pleasure. I am sure, animals, in ways we struggle to do, live in the moment and enjoy their friendships with simple loyalty. We have much to learn from them

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 08, 2014 @ 16:31:54

      Thank you Peter. It humbles me to know I am learning from the animals. Im pleased you enjoyed this one.

      Now then! Please do the decent thing and send some of that sunshine to Leeds!! I think we are a tad behind! 😄

      Reply

  6. Journey In Rhyme
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 16:42:04

    Sniff sniff… Beautiful.

    Reply

  7. Janette moran
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 21:05:08

    Beautiful, you describe her exactly as she is and your love for her shines through in this xxxx

    Reply

  8. Widow Beach
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 21:45:47

    Oh my goodness, Chris–you’ve done it again, sewn a beautiful tapestry with words, taking us right to the heart and soul. Wonderfully done–and I SO love “gone life”. You know, the fact that you don’t write daily makes us crave and long for your next post, hopeful each day. Your talent is indescribable really, (good grief, I just typed indescribbable –which may be accurate!). I should know some better words–all I can say is YOU ARE GOOD, phenomenally so. Grateful to read you, and be on your team. Hs and Ss

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 09, 2014 @ 10:31:35

      Wow! Thank you so much for this fabulous omment! Your encouragement means the world to me.

      Writing poems kind of weekly is as much as I can do quite honestly; they dont come quite as naturally to me as they do to you. And sometimes I have to work really hard to make them “presentable”! But I still enjoy writing them. As you already know writing over the past couple of years has saved my life.

      So glad youre in my team and Im in yours! Lots of Hs and Ss

      Reply

      • Widow Beach
        Mar 09, 2014 @ 20:21:41

        Oh, I meant no pressure for you to give us more frequent posts–just saying that I always look forward with eagerness to the next one!

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 09, 2014 @ 20:26:41

      I knew what you meant! My reply may have given you a wrong message, sorry! We are both fretting!!

      Reply

      • Widow Beach
        Mar 09, 2014 @ 20:28:53

        No, I just got up, so not fretting yet–I just wanted to make sure you didn’t feel pressured by me. I’ve heard that “really good writers” make their readers wait–it increases their hunger!!

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 09, 2014 @ 20:31:48

      More letters after my name! – RGW!!

      Reply

      • Widow Beach
        Mar 09, 2014 @ 20:40:02

        Of course I had to come back and figure out your latest title–memory’s a colander, you know! Yes–how we’ll fit all your letters on your Bio Page, I’ve no idea–good thing that’s not part of my PA job (personal assistant)–somebody else will be tasked with getting it right (or they’ll hear from me, and probably Theo too).

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 09, 2014 @ 20:46:31

      Haha! Talking of Theo, he has new shoes- he tells me theyre orange!!! I will see them tomorrow!

      Reply

  9. PookyH
    Mar 09, 2014 @ 20:39:12

    I love this so much. Such truth, so beautifully communicated x

    Reply

  10. lscotthoughts
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 03:25:54

    This is so beautiful and touching, Chris, and reminds me of when our Lucky Girl was “up there” in age…our furry companions sure pull at our heart strings, don’t they? And your last two lines are perfect! Many hugs! xo

    Reply

  11. bardessdmdenton
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 07:16:39

    I have read this over and over again, Christine, because of how lovingly it describes and reflects on what our dear animal friends and family show us of the indomitable spirit of living. It reminded me of my Gabey, who – although much younger than Poppy (he’s 10 3/4) – is arthritic but our “trooper”, too, never restricted by the things he can’t do so well, if at all, anymore. But, in fact, greater than ever as he discovers new and amazing ways of doing them! Thank you for this beautiful poem! Lots of love! XO

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 10, 2014 @ 10:04:28

      Thank you so much Diane for your lovely comment. I knew that if anyone understood his one, then you definitely would totally understand. I love how you describe Gabey as he “discovers new and amazing ways of doing them!” I relate to that very much myself; my family are constantly surprised at how I still manage to do some things that require two hands, but I have found ways round it and succeed with one! Im sure our beautiful animals will continue to teach us and tI hope hat we remain willing to learn.

      Lots of love ❤ xx

      Reply

  12. Libby
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 11:07:24

    This is a wonderful poem – the cat aging gracefully and contentedly – we can learn so much from animals!

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 10, 2014 @ 13:52:48

      Thank you Libby. Yes we certainly can learn from them im hoping that a little of Poppy’s natural equanimity rubs off onto me eventually. 😊

      Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 11, 2014 @ 15:33:49

      Yes I notice this too Libby. And it may sound daft but Poppy, the cat in the poem, seems to dream (I cant think of another explanation) because every now and again she wails really loud in her sleep and wherever she is sleeping I have go to her to comfort her, then she wakes up, purrs and gives me the usual welcoming miaow. It feels like I am comforting one of my children 🙂 x

      Reply

  13. harulawordsthatserve
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 07:45:10

    This is beautiful Christine, and so true. I look around at nature and the animal kingdom and I find everything I see a teacher. It’s all just ‘being’ – no expectation, no confusion or internal turmoil – just alive presence being its essence naturally. I feel it when I look at trees – rooted, upright, swaying with the wind, not fighting it and letting the leaves fall and regrowing them again – solid, utterly unperturbed, just being. Love and happy hugs, Harula xxxx

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 12, 2014 @ 09:52:28

      Hi Harula! Its good to see you back. I will be popping over to your blog soon to catch up.

      Thank you for your lovely comment which was really calming to read; you sound as though you are still in a very calm reflective place after your retreat.
      I always see the gentle equanimity in animals; they can teach us much if we take notice 😊
      Lots of love and hugs
      xxx

      Reply

  14. Thomas Davis
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 12:59:43

    We no longer have cats, Christine. We still have two dogs, but one dog, Pax, is getting old. Our last cat, a huge bruiser, got sick one day and was suddenly gone, shocking us, and we’ve never had one since. Animals are such a joy and seeing them get old is difficult, although I think you are right in this poem. We do have something to learn from them, not mindfulness, but living in the moment as your paw reaches out and swats at a ball of yarn. This is really a well done, well done poem.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 13, 2014 @ 13:44:23

      Thank you very much Tom for this comment. You continue to support and encourage me and this fills the gaps in my confidence with all they need for me to continue.

      I always feel a frisson of excitement when I see a new poem by Cynthia in my inbox; her poetry is a joy.

      Im sorry you lost a beloved animal so suddenly; it is difficult enough when they become old. But for me, the joy they bring outweighs those inevitable partings.

      Thank you again for popping in and leaving a slice of encouragement.

      Reply

  15. Thomas Davis
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 13:00:31

    I too really endorse Cynthia’s poetry. She is wonderfully talented.

    Reply

  16. gonecyclingagain
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 18:59:51

    ‘A purring little engine ticking over’: that’s just what my heart feels like reading this. Poignant but not sentimental – a tough trick to pull off, but beautifully done here. N.x

    Reply

  17. Betty Hayes Albright
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 19:53:39

    Christine, this one really touched me. We’ve always had cats – until a couple of years ago when our last one became ill and died. It’s always so hard (as others have said) seeing them lose their spunky edge. I’m glad your kitty is still well and content at 19 – she’s reached quite a milestone for a pet.
    Hugs to you!!

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 14:14:39

      Thank you very much Betty. Our lovely Poppy still seems very content with her life and she has all the comforts she needs and oodles of love,plus of course a seeming natural sense of equanimity which I would love to mirror. 😊 Sending hugs xxx

      Reply

  18. beckarooney
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 14:27:50

    The last few lines sums the whole poem up beautifully, a very touching read Christine. Your love speaks volumes throughout the entire piece 🙂 x

    Reply

  19. Cynthia Jobin
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 15:05:46

    Thank you, Christine, for the introduction to some lovely new friends..:-)

    Reply

  20. SuzyHazelwood
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 12:41:05

    When I first started to read this, I was thinking human – you can imagine my confusion as it progressed, but I quickly realised my mistake! 😉 It’s a delightful description of a very much loved ageing cat, so well described Christine!! 🙂 I’ve just realised that I’ve never had the experience of seeing a cat or any pet at all age like this, the lives of pets in my family seem to come to a more abrupt end. It must be very strange to see such a change, and remember how they were only a few short years before. So sad, but inevitable of life – the way it is, and is meant to be.

    But in a way, I can see the similarities to ageing in a human life. I’m in my mid forties, but I can feel to some extent, my world getting smaller, in terms of things I’m not so interested in, or haven’t got the energy for, taking life a little slower! I don’t think I’ve got to the space of a stamp life yet or the spoonful of fresh air (I love those phrases!) but some day – it feel like it!

    And this piece was so lovely!! 🙂
    We remember Christmas
    how you played with a fallen bauble,
    scored an invisible goal and you
    looked at me as if to say,
    I’ve still got it!

    Oh yes, no matter how difficult it all gets, we’ve got to still have that “I’ve still got it!” attitude! 😀

    Thanks for pointing out Cynthia’s blog Christine, it looks very interesting! I shall pay her a visit a bit later today, and have an enjoyable read by the look of what I’ve seen!!

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Mar 16, 2014 @ 12:59:32

      Thanks so much Suzy! I took this poem to my writing group that I attend on Fridays. This was because I could get no inspiration whatsoever from the assigned exercise, and as I looked out of the window trying to think, I saw my lovely cat, Poppy, on her way back from her patch for “private stuff”, and this poem fell onto the page. So our tutor said that was good enough for him and he read it to everyone in the group and they all said exactly the same as you did, that they had no idea till quite far down that it was referring to a cat!

      Yes it is sad when our pets age, or indeed if we lose them in any way, but for me, the joy they give far outweighs the pain I endure and knowing I have helped them to have a comfortable and happy life eases that pain.

      I think you will love Cynthia’s work; she is a wonderful poet and I always feel excited when I see a new post from her. 🙂 xx

      Reply

  21. Jane Thorne
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 17:46:46

    I love the last line…it really ‘caught’ me. What a wonderful poem my lovely funky friend. Much love and hugs, Xxxx (and cuppas)

    Reply

  22. Angela
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 16:30:42

    Beautifully written, Christine. I feel you, as a poet, have “let go” – there is a freeness in your writing that comes from your soul… and it makes your poems shine. My favourite line is: “a spoonful of fresh air” – I just love that!!!
    xxx

    Reply

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