Friends well remembered

I've not long finished writing my short story of the month (February, that is. If you'd like to read it and have not already done so please do just click on www.bryanislipauthor.com. Top right hand. Click to subscribe - it's free as the air and you'll get, by e-mail, my current story and then the new one on the 1st of each month this year. Of course you check out whenever you will although I hope you won't want to.)

The story is called A Life With Dogs and that's all I'll say about it here! But  if you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know that our Hungarian vizslas for 30 years occupied a major part of our lives. In order of their birth, Show Champion Russetmantle Seth ('Seth'), Courthill Cloud ('Chloe'), Hookside Mati ('Mati') and Hookside Sio ('Sorosh' - which is Hungarian for beer drinker and that's another story). The latter pair left us two years ago come April, since when .... a great big hole that nothing can fill except more vizslas and are we up for two more amazing bundles of energy, as ancient as I am?

Anyway I recently had occasion to contact the Hungarian Vizsla Club. I sent them this poem written in 1992 when old Seth died. I'd like to share it with you here ... I wrote it after we had journeyed the 680 miles north to consign his ashes to one of his (and our) favourite places by Red Point beach, Gairloch / Torridon


A Place For Seth    
New Years Eve 1991

This pact he made with nature for himself,
Not Dee nor me, the dog is ours no more.
Now here’s his place, this heathered grey brown shelf,
Strong rocky arm flung round an ochre shore
On which with her he’d run in flying sand
And loved the cream-capped swell of ocean wave.
Seth knew each salty smell of this sea-land
And there is nowhere else he’d rather have;
He looks across to Skye, as from the croft,
And with the calling of the birds his norm
He’ll sleep through rain and shine of summers soft,
In comfort feel each shaking winter storm.

Clean cuts sharp iron spade through root, black peat,
We bend to place named urn and champion’s scroll.
Six rocks we, breathless, bring up from the beach,
This celtic place Seth’s memory shall extoll.
In failing light and our sad task achieved
We go in silence, stumbling down the path.
There was no bad in him for whom we grieve
But how we suffer in his aftermath.
We ford the stream then pause, about we turn
And just still see his cairn atop the mound:
Already snow-birds drift o’er him we mourn
‘He’s ours,’ faint comes their melancholy sound.

As midnight nears the piper holds the stage,
In Gaelic swirl brings in another age.
Our glasses touch and then at last our eyes,
Minds now with he who’s gone, we know our prize:
His final gift, last comfort, certain truth;
The good each does - alone surviveth death..

Too soon we leave this hard and long-loved place
From rain-swept brae we turn to distant shore
And there - a dancing light, such wondrous grace.
Oh Seth, our friend, we shall not miss you more
For you will be the upsprung green of spring,
Each dusty summer’s calm fecundity,
In autumn mists you will be lingering
White winters too shall hold your memory.
Chloe, soon, again shall run fast by your side
And best of all for Dee and me it’s true
You’ll see us from another puppy’s eyes
- And always there shall be this place for you.

Now: New Year’s Day of nineteen ninety two
***


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