A Good Passing


Sonny’s gone, Jim wrote.

The scribed message, so simple and stark

lacked the sound of his voice, but I heard

Jim’s pause-filled sigh in those uncountable seconds

when truth hits hard

and words, mere symbols of our reality

let us down.

3-D memories flooded my mind

tactile visions of spring-born colt

chestnut legs like flying buttresses, ungainly and long

and wonder-filled days ahead with happy destiny

carved by DNA and sweet mare’s milk

and sun, those glorious summer rays…

Galloping grows from sunshine and meadows

hooves drumming the bodhran ground

chastising squeals and mother-love neighs…

All the while, as I dream of the child horse who’d been,

Sonny’s lifeless body, a silent shadow of himself

draping earth – an old sleeping giant – awaits

Jim prepares the tractor-dug coffin

a deep, soft space, gentle rest place

of honor for his friend, nestled beside beloved bones

And beyond the invisible curtain of light and love

Sonny’s spirit dances, chestnut shimmering, cavorting again

for there, waiting to greet him, stands Sur

shaking his noble head, calling

Welcome home, Sonny.

It was a good passing

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18 responses to “A Good Passing

  1. this is a great tribute to a noble friend…it is hard to lose a friend…whether they be human or not..Sonny was a lucky horse because he had noble friends like you.

    • Thanks Grizz, Sonny’s Dad will be grateful for your empathy and kind comments.

    • Trish

      I read it twice. Second time was a better read for me. Very touching and a great tribute to a noble friend. I don’t know if I would have centered it. Most likely, had a flush left margin. That’s the only change I’d make.

      • Thanks, Trish for your comments and suggestion. Centering is a subjective experience – appeals to some, not others. I like space to surround the words, focusing like a zoom-lens, allowing the message to float on the page without anchor to left or right, leaving the reader with only the images, in this case of Sonny, his passing and the actions of those that loved him. To me, centering also slows the reader down. Poetry isn’t meant to be rushed. It should be felt with all the senses, and harbored – as you did upon your second reading. Thank you.

  2. My sister was out in the field when her beloved Willoughby died, stroking her neck, singing to her. Willoughby lived long past her expected lifespan, and she lived with Beth because the horse had grown “too old” for one of her rich-rich neighbors. People like you and Beth, horse people, are truly special, and I’m sending my prayers to you upon your loss. There is such a thing as “a good death”; I’ve seen it. One was my own mother. Peace, Amy Barlow Liberatore

    • Bless you Amy for your heartfelt comment. I will pass it on to Jim, who is the the special one in this case. Knowing others acknowledge your grief and share the experience of loss is an important part of healing. I am always reminded when an animal or close person dies, that the measure of grief felt is a reflection of the quality of love and the depth of relationship bonds. Thank you for telling us about Willoughby and your sister Beth – two very special souls indeed.

  3. What a beautiful piece about life, loss, and love. It is so inspiring. I imagine you are writing this to someone dear. I’m glad I had a chance to visit your wonderful work here!

    • Thank you, Write Girl. Anyone who has loved and lost can’t help but feel an instant kinship with dear friend or complete stranger when they lose their animal buddy. There are no words that can adequately explain how grief and love are always unexpected, even when knowing they will come, and the reality of it is so cold and so final, at the same time beautiful, relieving and peaceful. Shakespeare put it simply, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

  4. Beautifully written and quite moving…

    • Thanks Berowne, I really appreciate your descriptive words: quite moving. When we experience life-changing events, they push, pull and shove us, sometimes head first and others, feet first, as we dig our heels in and try to stay rooted on old ground. Life and death events ensure that we do move from one level to another. In the case of grief, I believe it teaches us compassion. Perhaps this is one reason why soldiers are taught to kill when they are young, and why many old soldiers say that war is an atrocity and there’s got to be a better answer. As always, I feel the answer to war and grief, and everything else under the sun, is Love.

    • Thanks, ruchi – I visited your site and read your lovely poem about the scattering hearts. When I tried to leave a comment, it kept disappearing, I don’t know why. So I hope you read this. Nice work, Ruchi!

  5. “a silent shadow of himself

    draped like an old sleeping giant, awaits” so poignant.

    • Thank you for reading and for your comment. I visited your site and was stunned with the beauty of both words and images. I signed on to be reminded to read more. Glad to have discovered you.

  6. Hi. I really like this poem. Very straightforward capture of a difficult momment. I like ‘chestnut red cavorting’ and ‘words…let us down’. Jane

  7. There is something about an animal’s death that teaches us time and time again about how we should go too…there is never too much drama to it, nor resistance..it’s as if they know something that we don’t. Was touched by this. Will come back later to read more.

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