Blessing for Bleecker
When I see the old brick church
I always think of you, Dear Heart,
You ginger-and white love of my life.
You wore an art deco heart on your sleeve,
And a lucky diamond on one of your toes --
The love never goes.
When my job was no longer
To save you, My Boy, but to free
You, gentlest of beings, bravest of souls --
Who else was gentle? Who would help me brave
The cruelest of partings? Whose example shows
The love always flows?
When the priest gave the blessing
You were in my arms, dear Dear Heart,
Ginger and white fur wet from my tears,
(Your strong loving heart to beat ten weeks more.)
Feeling for certain that the love never goes,
I stroked your soft toes.
MLydiaM ~ May 2011
Bleecker, aka Dear Heart (1990-2006)
There is much online information on the Blessing of the Animals in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi's love for all animals. I liked this piece at americancatholic.org.
Photo at top is a writing prompt by Tess Kincaid of Magpie Tales.
A Postscript after original publication:In response to a comment from Stickup Artist, I wrote to her about the medical problems that Bleecker had during his 16 years of life. I am adding it here because it explains why I used the phrase bravest of souls to describe him in this poem:
I so appreciate you mentioning the mutual love and caring that Bleecker and I shared. I adopted him from the Humane Society when he was four months old and we were inseparable. It was good he had my commitment because he did have more than his share of medical problems:
- Two separate perineal urethrostomy surgeries for urinary tract blockage (the first one was not successful in relieving his condition),
- Radioactive Iodine Therapy for hyperthyroidism which required a three-day stay at the treatment center, after which we had to isolate him from us except for one hour/day for a month because he was radioactive - although he was in a closed room in the house he did not understand the separation,
- Ultimately, kidney failure. Prognosis: with home-administered subcutaneous fluid injections every three days he might live for 6 mos-one year. My husband and I, and our dear patient, maintained that schedule for over two years, amazing the vets! But after two years he went downhill fast and he and I made that final trip to the vet one week before Christmas after a big snow.