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A Passing Shadow

Behind our house, below the deck
with its pleasing benches and sylvan view,
the back yard we have descends steeply
to a little stream called Chimacum Creek.

It is September, so the Creek’s waters
are shallow, so shallow that
little music from its ripple and flow
rises to meet our eager, listening ears above.

Any day now, the waters will surrender
their serenity and in noisy salute
yield to thrashing thunder,
as salmon spawn and meet their demise.

Sheltering us there from summer’s heat
and winter’s chilled and rainy drench,
a little family of barred owls often calls and begs,
their nocturn nearly undisturbed by shingled intrusion.

Outside, my wife stands in solitary contemplation,
for this is her temple, and she its worthy guest.
Yet the minutes and hours pass so slowly now,
as grief stands weary watch with her.

We had grown so accustomed to our dear child’s
heartened ways, as ever eager to greet us
at morning’s hesitant, uncertain dawning glow
as at evening’s surrender to curl upon our bed to sleep.

Jet black hair and soft green eyes—her special dance
each moment to delight us so, we had never ever
thought today would bring us only fading echoes of
all we held so dear in this sweet and tender form.

No matter that she had a tail and two more legs than us,
she lived and loved and spoke with such eloquence
and grace, the best of us were shamed.
Angels withheld not their envy and begged for her return.

So grieve with us a moment, for fled is now
that little feline snowflake in our hand.
My rhyme is vanished; my muse is stilled.
Shadow was her name.


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  1. Date: 9/16/2014 9:48:00 AM

    Oh, yes! I've wept without shame for many a domestic pet, the outdoor feline too. We've had so many cats over the years I almost shed a tear for your poem. Such an artist you are, Mark. Love, daver
  1. Date: 9/15/2014 11:30:00 PM

    Shadow, may your whiskers be ruffled by only pleasant breezes, May your bowls be filled with tuna and sweet cream, May your dreams be blessed with legions of mice, And most of all, May you forever purr in peace. Amen. May Shadows forever make you smile my friend as sweet memories slowly give reprieve to your grief. Most tender hugs dear friend.