my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Something lighter by Toi

From a Letter: About Snow

        for Chana Bloch

I am at a retreat house,
and the nun who runs the house told me to look at my face in the mirror.
I did, but the only thing I keep seeing is the face of Snow, the huge Pyrenees
            sheep dog.
He's so frightened, they can't let him off his leash!
His human eyes, long-suffering, like a saint who's forgotten how to smile.
I hear the breed is naturally shy, and this one was abused by his previous owner.
No wonder he backs away!
But to see a creature so large--120 pounds--so timid.
Once, they say, scared by a deer, he broke his leash and ran.
A mile away a woman stopped with her pickup and he jumped right in!
Who knows why the frightened make decisions!
Today I jogged with him, his thick rangy self leading the way.
Now we're sitting in the shade by the community house while I write this letter.

by Toi Derricotte

I saw Toi Derricotte read her poetry last night. You can see my discussion on that in the comments on the post below. I wanted to share this poem to show that everything she writes is not  heavy and hard hitting. I was very impressed by her.  She is a professor at Pitt and lives in Pittsburgh. If you ever get a chance to see her, I'd encourage you go.

The line that moves me in this poem is " Who knows why the frightened make decisions."
It reminds me of those unlucky souls in our society who are scared shitless, but because of  the dire straits they find themselves in, must make decisions that we, in better circumstances, may question. I feel for them.


marie-josé said...

I've gotta love this poem --just because she mentions the Pyrenees --my region-- and the dog that goes with it, what we call there "le berger des Pyrénées." It's quite a beautiful dog. Of course, if it's a female dog, it's then quite a beautiful bitch. More later...

Gary said...

Today Gary and I came home from being out to lunch. Our little Springer Spaniel, Rebel, came out to greet us. We live on a very busy street, and he was supposed to be in the fenced in back yard. Apparently, Gary had left the gate open by mistake. Yet Rebel stayed inside and didn't venture out of the backyard until he hear us pull up. Was he too frightened to leave the safety of our yard, or didn't he know his "cell door" was wide open? Who will ever know?

Many years ago my mother shared a dream that she had about her children. In her dream, all of us were sitting in our prison cells with the doors wide open. Were we all too frightened to make the decision to change our live?

pkcyphert said...


Great stories! Yes, I think we all spend time in our self imposed cells where we know what to expect. Perhaps daily, fear prohibits me from living my life fully, from reacting to an incident as my heart would have me, or from saying the words someone needs to hear, all from fear of failure, rejection, or of revealing too much of my "self".

Your comment leads me to the selection of today’s poems by David Whyte. Thanks for the nice segue.