Show Champion Russetmantle Seth

This is a sad one. No apologies. 'Life is never', as says the front cover of my Twenty Bites, 'just a bowl of cherries'. Whilst looking for something else in my Word files I came across this poem, written eighteen years ago by way of an obituary to an animal that shaped my life as surely as any human has shaped it. And Seth is still alive in the hearts and the minds of those who knew him...

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
***
We'll soon be taking a walk back to that place by Red Point beach where Seth and afterwards his mate Chloe rest. And then a walk back in time before moving on into the adventure that is 2011.

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