A REFUGE FOR POETS WHO WRITE IN THE LYRIC TRADITION,
WITH RHYME AND METER, WITH OR WITHOUT MUSIC
In a wide open field, on a hot summer’s day,
I grew weary and thirsty and wandered away.
I followed a path to a bridge of wooden planks.
Over cool running waters I stooped and I drank.
And two hunting dogs came a-wand’ring to me.
Siberian huskies I believe them to be.
Of hunting and trapping they’d both had their fill;
And one’s mouth was covered with porcupine quills.
He had quills in his tongue, he had quills in his snout.
The quills they are barbed and you can’t pull them out.
I gave him a hug, but was light to the touch,
For the porcupine quills must have hurt very much.
And then a young couple came a-walking about;
And they had a car, but would not drive him out.
They were too busy camping, and had no help to lend;
So I named the dog “Whiskers,” and we became friends.
The dog wanted someone to help, and it showed;
But we were seven long miles from the nearest paved road,
And the lake down below, which beckons to rovers,
With an imposing mountain yet to climb over.
So we began climbing, both Whiskers and me,
And still he would chase every creature he’d see;
But when he would wander too far off the track,
I would simply say “no,” and he’d come loping back.
When we reached the top of the mountain so high,
He looked down on the lake with a gleam in his eye;
And when it was time to begin the descent,
The dog let me know, and downward we went.
When we had come to the long journey’s end,
I called up his master, who picked up my friend,
And also his sister, the dog who’d stayed behind.
But to this very day, I wish Whiskers were mine.
Kattskill Bay, New York, 1975