Miller’s Faithful Ball-Fetcher
(a dog’s-eye view response to Miller Williams’s poem “Listen")
By Susan L. Lipson (4/11)
Where’d it go? Where’d it go?
He threw the white ball, I saw it!
So where’d it go?
No smell to follow?
Maybe the chilling wind grabbed the scent from me?
My nose feels so cold, freezing cold,
Colder than my paws, now sinking into shifting, wet ground—
What humans call “snow,” I think.
Maybe the ball sunk, too?
“I’ll find it, Master!” I bark.
He barks back my name, “Fritz,” and “Come!”
I ignore him and keep searching,
Fearing that he’ll lose faith in me,
The Best Ball Fetcher, his Good Dog!
I’ll make a bigger loop.
Sniff, sniff, sniff…no luck.
He barks again,
And I bark back, “No, I didn’t find it yet!
But I will! I’m trying! I’ll bring it back to you!”
Round and round and round I run,
Till my paws feel numb.
I hang my head.
Failure. Bad Dog.
I shake off the dampness
And trudge toward him,
My tail between my legs.
Why does he pet me now?
He can’t possibly be proud!
He won’t stop petting me,
Softly speaking my name,
Petting and petting me
With his warm hands,
Till we both feel warm again.
AND HERE IS WILLIAMS'S POEM THAT PROMPTED MINE:
By Miller Williams
I threw a snowball across the backyard.
My dog ran after it to bring it back.
It broke as it fell, scattering snow over snow.
She stood confused, seeing and smelling nothing.
She searched in widening circles until I called her.
She looked at me and said as clearly in silence
as if she had spoken,
I know it's here, I'll find it,
went back to the center and started the circles again.
I called her two more times before she came
slowly, stopping once to look back.
That was this morning. I'm sure that she's forgotten.
I've had some trouble putting it out of my mind.