Our Pete

We go
on and life continues
with or without our participation.
Because of this, I selectively choose
to let loose memories,
fall leaves blushing red, gold, yellow
before browning on the ground.

Still those composted fragments remain,
great beast led slowly down the hill
by my weeping husband,
velvet muzzle grasping bits
of carrot even then,
gentle eyes dull and weary,
ready for the long rest.

Laid him low
and the terms were easy,
kindness all around and sacred,
oblivion in a syringe
as he reeled, slow motion,
into prepared earth.

How quickly it all surges back,
billions of impressions like bright pulsars
in a pitch black sky,
dancing all around my greying head;
selective vision; now to witness,
now distraction,
and who is to say
what merits attention
in this moment?

(Written in response to Maxine Kumin’s ”The Taste of Apple,” bringing Pete’s death back as if it happened yesterday – the gift of great poets.)

15 comments on “Our Pete”

  1. A very sweet tribute, Bela. Beautiful.

    • Thanks, Elisa. We rescued this old boy, not knowing just how short his time with us would be. He taught us more than younger horses I had had in my life for many years. Such a great spirit. We miss him. xo

  2. So poignant and well written!

  3. I sat with this one for a while as usual Bela; not to say that anything came to mind other than a sense of affinity, and recollections of love – some residual sense of having let a loved one down too. There is no easy exit route it seems; what may be best for the other may prove the worst of us, and then again the converse might be true. Love lost is painful, yet still it returns to haunt us, thankfully.

    H ❤

    • Hariod, as usual you’ve pinpointed the underlying sentiment behind the words. The hardest thing I can imagine doing again right now is making the decision to put an animal down. We have one old dog who is in great shape, but he’s still nearing that end of life bit. And though we have long agreed that an animal ought to have an animal’s life and not a drug-impaired dotage, it is never an easy decision to terminate its life if it isn’t fortunate enough to simply die in its sleep. With Pete, the vet assured us that, had we waited one more day, he would have collapsed and it would have been far more traumatic. Yet I still wonder at times like this what we might have done differently. None of us knew he was in his late ‘twenties when we rescued him for starters, yet we were in deep drought at the time – did this old boy get enough fresh water? Were we negligent in other ways? Ignorant, even (as I’d only ever raised mares and foals)?

      In the end, the truth is that at certain pivotal points in life, there often Are no easy answers, and, as you say, the best for the other may prove worse for us (and yes, I’ve experienced the reverse of that equation).

      I love that you offer that love lost, though painful, ‘returns to haunt us, thankfully.’ And I agree. Love in any form is a gift, and to have experienced it, win or lose, enriches life beyond measure.

      Aloha, and thank you, as always, for your insightful reply ❤ Blessings, dear.

  4. While you recounted your own memories dear Bela of those last sacred moments of a beloved friend with four legs.. I was also recounting the same kind of memories of a beloved cat.. a friend and companion, for 21 yrs.. Your touching poem touched my Heart Bela…And isnt it strange how we think we have let go.. Yet within an instant, its only like yesterday..<3 xx

    • Twenty-one years!!? Wow, that cat had nine lives! Gosh, that really must have been devastating – a virtual lifetime spent with an animal. A horse lives longer than that, but still. And we only had Pete for three? four? years of his senior life. Still it was difficult.

      And you are correct, and more to the point of the poem, that these memories can and do surface at any time. Makes one wonder about the space-time continuum, which I once experienced for seconds – long enough to be positive that past, present and future coexist in a much more confounding way than the human mind is capable of bearing witness to for very long.

      Thank you for taking the time to offer your heartfelt comments, Sue. Aloha ❤

      • They say Bela that the Past Present and Future Co-exist simultaneously.. I have always had a hard time getting my head around that one.. But the Time continuum is present within the NOW.. and I have through past life therapy also been able to go back and heal the present.. Yes our Human functioning brain power has a hard time unravelling such matrix’s.. 🙂 But we do all affect each other..

        Yes it was hardest upon my Daughter she had grown up with our beloved Cat.. And she was her best friend whom she told all her secrets too and opened her heart to.. It was an empty household for a few months until we rescued another Feline a 7 yr old who was full of attitude when we got her… She had long fur and would box you if you dared to brush her.. With patience and trust we soon got along that she would enjoy her grooming time.. 🙂 lol..
        Thank you for your lovely reply Bela.. Blessings your way. xxx Sue ❤

  5. I only ever owned one dog, Pinto followed me like my shadow throughout my childhood.
    Now all my pets are free and wild, except I love minding other peoples pets.

    • Jack, I wonder sometimes if it’s easier that way. After this round of pets passes on, I suspect we’ll do the same – unless, that is, we find ourselves with another piece of acreage an elder horse or two could graze upon … Cheers!

  6. “a mixed plate from Pandora’s kitchen”… “tracks laid down in the sands of existence”…very nice. This is lovely.

    • Thanks so much, Stephen! This came under Our Pete (last week’s post), though clearly meant for Stone Soup. In any event, your comments are most welcome here and appreciated. Aloha.

  7. for dogs, true friendship always lasts a lifetime — we had to let ‘hond’ go that misty morning, the 13th of July, now 6 weeks ago …


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