Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018 The Year of the Earth Dog

the year of the dog - 
soft fur of Tibetan spaniel
shines on green grass

After all the upheavals and fires of the Fire Rooster Year (2017), we will be able to catch a break in the homey and comfy Earth Dog Year - according to the Chinese Zodiac, at least...  The Year of Earth Dog will start on February 16, 2018 (Chinese New Year) and end on February 4, 2019. This is the eleventh of 12 zodiac signs and the Dog years have been in this century: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042... Since the Dog is an "auspicious" animal, it brings good fortune.

Let's welcome the Dog year with some Dog photos and haiku:

gold-furred dog rests
in my sunlit garden - 
happy, healthy, free

amber spaniel eyes
look at me with affection -
love conquers all

can dogs laugh?
dolphins nod in agreement
swimming in circles

a dog rests at my feet
his gold eyes full of promise - 
"my heart beats for you"

Artist Monique Lehman with her dog, Corcia ("little daughter")

angel in a halo
with her favorite friend -
an artist's spring

Since my Chinese Zodiac sign is Rooster and 2017 was the Fire Rooster year, I was hoping for some sunlight, smiles and a feather-light heart. But, instead, this....

The scorched earth, charcoal branches, and days of thick black smoke...  I got a whole lot of upheavals and dangers in 2017, including two huge fires nearby, one evacuation, a series of burglaries, and so forth. . . I came out of it all smiling, so I guess, all these things served to teach me to live with a "feather-light" heart, without worries, no matter how dangerous the situation seems.  It is funny to look, in retrospect at my last year's haiga card with a orange-red rose and my wishes...  We have to be careful what we wish for, I guess...

I have not written many dog-themed poems, though dogs appear in my love poetry book, Rose Always - A Love Story, as they played an important role in the unfolding of this mystery. Here is a sample of dog-themed poems from that book:

Dog Story

My dog ran away 
to bring me 
the man of my life 

a blond one 
like my first love
with smiley wrinkles  
like my last one 

(scoundrels both,
as the rest of them)

Are you different?

I cannot tell,
oblivious to all
but your beauty –

Be good, be truthful

A Desert Walk

Your dog welcomes me 
with mad displays of affection, 
overturning things
with his wildly swinging tail.

He brings the leash in his teeth,
ready for a walk, jumping with excitement.

We go out after sunset,
with my collie – beautiful and scared
of this boisterous stranger,
distrustful of his sudden attachment
to the lady of the house.

The blonde dog cannot be leashed
as he chases each cat, each squirrel.

Yet, he returns quickly, faithfully,
to stay right by my side.

I marvel at his obedience.

In a Flemish stained glass window based on a biblical story of Tobias and his unlucky wife Sarah (demons killed seven of her husbands on their wedding night!). Tobias found a fish, burned some of it in the fireplace and sent the demons packing, so the young married couple could rest happily, finally asleep, with their dog at their feet...

Light Centuries 

 by Maja Trochimczyk
                                             “Where are the days of Tobias?”
                                                             ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Second Duino Elegy

                                              “Let us grow old both together in health.”
                                                            ~ Sarah in The Book of Tobias, 8: 10

They are asleep
in a Flemish window,
their stained-glass bed
sheltered by curtains
of cerulean and crimson.

Like two doves
in white nightcaps,
Tobias and Sarah
rest on soft, white pillows,
after the nightmare,
dreaming alabaster dreams.

Yes, that was an angel
walking with you
through desert landscape.
Yes, there was a river,
demons, fire, and a fish.
The dog ran along, panting.

He rests with them now,
curled at their feet,
among the riches
of verdant foliage
painted on translucent silk.
The dog – their only witness.

Flames danced at night.
The demon fled the stench
of burning liver.
You did not see Raphael
bind him in upper Egypt.
You did not feel
the rainbow wings.

They found a refuge
in the domesticity
of an ordered life:
candle extinguished
on the nightstand,
slippers waiting
for the step of the master.

Above the bed,
the womb-shaped
knot of a red velvet
curtain foretells
Sarah’s future, the wealth
of children to come.

Listen: Cold wind
carries the echoes
of crying, wailing
through desert fog
outside. Demons
mourn their happiness.

They are asleep.
Fluted columns
twirl up to a ceiling
of gold-flowered
sprites guarding
their glass dreams.


 (c) 2010 by Maja Trochimczyk

NOTE: This ekphrastic poem is based on a 15-th century Flemish stained-glass window.

Dogs become parts of human families and are missed when they are gone. Here's a tribute to a tiny dog named Hazelnut:


Somewhere a ballerina was born on Friday,

a trapeze artist, a clown or a juggler with a circle of balls
lined up in the air above her curly head.
A new life began, a life ended.

Somewhere, sometime. We are left with memories
of Orzeszek, Miss Hazelnut of Boston.
She practiced controlled skidding
across lacquered hardwood floors to accelerate
reaching her ball she never tired of bringing back
to be thrown again – delighted with the game
on instant replay. She’d step out for a dinner on town
in her fancy haircut and a red bowtie.

She’d gallop across the vastness of a meadow,
ears flapping in the wind, a picture of freedom.
She’d rest in her favorite hiding spot
under an arch of antique pink roses.

Ever cheerful, she could sleep
on Marcin’s head, on his chest,
tucked under his armpit, full of warmth and comfort.
Courageous, she’d walk across his face
if it were in her way, or lick his nose
in a fit of affection.

Hazelnut, oh, Hazelnut, too curious for new scents,
with oversized paws too fast across the pavement,
in front of the car that did not even break.

Your heart beat quickly; stopped beating too soon.
We are sorry you had to go. We wish you could stay longer.
You left us behind to play in dog heaven.
Farewell, Hazelnut. Don’t forget your ball!

(c) 2014 by Maja Trochimczyk

And here's an eulogy by Just Kibbe for his favorite companion, Loki:

Just Kibbe with Loki in Los Angeles

Thank you Loki for teaching me so many of the magic words. You were many things as the Norse God of Mischief: a hunter, a trickster, a hardcore cuddler, a teacher. I think of you often, and you are running and leaping and licking my face and alive in my heart as you always will be!
                                                                                                                                 ~ Just Kibbe

Just Kibbe's dog, Loki

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

~ From Puck Monologue in Mid-Summer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

As the official PR dept of Ravendaisy Farm, Loki touched many hearts and went on so many adventures in his 15 years.  On to the next, my love. We love you and miss you and can't wait to meet again.                                              
                                                                                                                        ~ Just Kibbe

Just Kibbe with his dog Loki and a horse

Happy Earth Dog Year 2018! 

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