Tuesday, April 27, 2010


In Susan's arms is Pal Goose. He was a pet of the family for 25 years. A good old friend. Fierce when he had to be, comical and enduring otherwise. We always liked it how he turned his head sideways to give us, or anyone, the real hairy eye. I wrote a poem to him just after he died. It's the least I could do after so many fine years. He greened our lawn. He had his wives and girlfriends. When he was old and alone he even took on the role of a chicken with a new herd of feisty and young chickens who pretty much said to him in the pecking order: "We know you are a goose, but with all of us you'd better act like a chicken." So he did. I could see that he did. Twice as large and twice as bright as the chickens he humbly took his course. When selecting poems to read in public I try not to read "Pal Goose". It makes someone I love cry.


On that sunny day

I opened your pen door

And let you out —

You loved the sun

Sun on snow

Making tracks to the pond —

Because it got too busy

But I have no excuse how

I forgot to close your

Pen door and left home

Sometime in the evening

Faraway, thoughts to you and

The open door but I would get back

The moon was out, and you

Loved the moon —

The raccoon was out, and he

Hunts by the moon —

The next morning you were

Found dead with eyes open

Suddenly flat and huge on the snow

Too big for raccoon to even bother with

Whose blood-tracks tricky designed away

And then as if he noticed how obvious

Seemed to wash his murderous paws

Off in the snow and vanished

You were our third gander

In twenty years, flocks of

Geese once upon a time mixed

With ducks and chickens and when

Our rooster died you were the new

Rooster for the chickens —

It looked funny, it looked

Practical, you fit

I miss you now when I split

Wood and wait to hear your call

Loud and sudden and part of me

photo © bob arnold