Walking the Dogs in the Cold: Sunday, 30 December 2007

First, a news item that has just come to my notice: Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice had her designer clothes stolen Dec. 20 from a dressing room in Germany. (And the reason self knows is because someone googled “clothes stolen” and landed on self’s blog, so self herself tried the search, and voila . . . )

* * * *

There is a poem I love in Louise Gluck’s Averno. By coincidence or maybe not, it’s called “Landscape,” and begins:

    The sun is setting behind the mountains,
    the earth is cooling,
    A stranger has tied his horse to a bare chestnut tree,
    The horse is quiet — he turns his head suddenly,
    hearing, in the distance, the sound of the sea.

Yesterday my husband walked the dogs without me. Today, he was heading out the door with them when I said, Wait.

It was cold. The Christmas decorations in our neighbors’ leaf-strewn front yards were starting to blink on. Gracie, propelled by some compulsive fury, pulled and tugged hard at her leash and I could barely restrain her. A man came up and asked us if we had seen his dog, a small black Chihuahua. Regretfully, we shook our heads.

Gluck’s poem continues:

    I make my bed for the night here,
    spreading my heaviest quilt over the damp earth.

As soon as we walked in the door, I fed the dogs. Afterwards, they headed straight for their pillows: they’re now, both of them, in deep slumber.

Husband seems at a loss. Perhaps it’s because the weekend is finally over? We didn’t know it before the walk but now that we’re home we know it. He sits and looks at the TV and then wanders off to the bedroom and I can hear him moving around in there, arranging things on his desk. On the TV Matt Damon as Jason Bourne points a snub-nosed handgun at a dapper man in a dark suit. There’ll be a fight scene soon, one I look forward to seeing again.

And here’s Gluck again:

    The sound of the sea —
    when the horse turns its head, I can hear it.

    On a path through the bare chestnut trees,
    a little dog trails its master.

    The little dog — didn’t he used to rush ahead,
    straining the leash, as though to show his master
    what he sees there, there in the future —

    the future, the path, call it what you will.

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