Thursday, July 13, 2023

live from chautauqua

Greetings, fellow poetry fans! Here at the Chautauqua Institution, which I call a "faith-flavored culture camp for adults," there's too much going on for a lengthy post, so I'm putting up an Instadraft™ and promising no kind of commenting this weekend as I reenter real life from this rarefied atmosphere. Thanks to a guy I know from home with whom I had coffee here and who gave me this poem--a dog poem of all things!

Dog Talk

Despite the surgery,
she grew weaker
and I grew stronger:
five times a day and night
I picked up that crippled old collie,
love of our lives,
the one I hear folks
calling a fur baby,
and carried her outside
to do her business.

For 9 months, like a father
holds and diapers a baby,
over and over
I carried all 70 pounds of her
down the narrow stairs,
across the porch and down
the wide stairs to the lawn
and back up when she was done.

Not long after she left us,
Valora came to me in the night,
speaking in her collie voice,
telling me how now
I'd have to go to the gym
to stay so strong.

Instadraft™ © HM 2023

Thanks to the tremendously creative Linda at A Word Edgewise for hosting us this week!


  1. Oh, my. This is a gut punch. A beautiful, gut punch. I hope you are enjoying every minute, Heidi.

  2. Awww. My dog-friends have visited me in my dreams before, too...sometimes I am better than others at listening to their messages. Yay for your Chautauqua experience! May it feed you for a long time.

  3. Your story breaks my heart. Valora is gorgeous. What a gentle, kind caretaker you were for her.

  4. oh. we lived this - For the love of a dog! So fun for you to be in Chautauqua. Fill up!

  5. We lived this, too, for two years. Hard times, honestly. "Valora" is a great name. Glad you got to soak in Chatauqua!

  6. We do so much for our fur babies. This lifting and carrying is pure love.

  7. So emotional...this poem about a beloved pet. It says so much when we care for them so devotedly. Glad you got to spend time at Chautauqua. Wonderful place! I hope your "re-entry" is peaceful.

  8. Heidi, I love Chautauqua, too! We didn't go this year, but I know what you mean about re-entry! This poem touches my heart because we have a granddog approaching that stage. I love the beautiful ending.

  9. I have a friend who loves Chatauqua so much they bought a second place up there. I can barely make it through the poem, Heidi - one eye shut - since I'm still grieving over our Rita. But beautifully done.

  10. The depths of our devotion to our pets knows no bounds. Your poem captures this bond perfectly. Looking forward to hearing more about your time at Chatauqua!

  11. I'm so glad you shared this poem, and that you had a wonderful experience in Chatauqua. I'm looking forward to seeing what else arises from the seeds sown during your time there.

  12. Well, now I'm crying. What a beautiful poem. Hope you had a wonderful trip!

  13. Oh what a beautiful tribute to a fur legged love,

  14. Thank you for this beautiful poem that touched me deeply having recently lost our dog. His eyesight failed and we had to lead him out and in and all around. Chatauqua is an amazing place. Enjoy!

  15. Oh, Heidi. Instadrafts can have so much wisdom in them.

  16. Such strong ties we build with these favored animals. Hope to hear more about your rich retreat, thanks Heidi.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!