Putting Licky Down
What is it, then, you say to them
When medics shake their head;
When heaving lungs are thick with phlegm,
Your old bitch marked for dead?
What salve is there to comfort eyes
That trust beyond their pain —
What right have I, when all hope dies,
To whimper, or complain?
Her days were mischief, sleep and play,
Her tongue a children’s shrine,
She stole some hearts along the way —
And one of them was mine.
What’s left to do but stroke her flanks
And kiss her half-pricked ear?
What bridge have I to make my thanks?
Good night. God speed, my dear.
Mandalay, Mustique July 30, 2003
Licky was an orange ball of fur who lived a long life and produced many puppies. I inherited her when I bought my house on Mustique from David Bowie. Beloved by every child who ever met her, she sat at my feet in my study for more evenings than I can count. Even now I look down occasionally when writing, expecting her familiar white muzzle to be staring up at me.
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