Saturday, July 7, 2012


In the untracked snow

fallen since Christmas,

I pull the husky

in the child's

blue sled to the copse

of birch. He froze

in the night

after I lugged him

from the dog house

where he struggled for

the warmth that

cold and snow

drained slowly from

heart and bone,

too weak to eat or crawl

except on forepaws,

hind legs useless

that once steered

sled teams

and cut tracks

where only wolves,

moose, and elk



I exposed him

to the cold and snow

to die fighting, majestic

and proud in memory

like the stud he was.


Under birch I

covered him with straw.

Days later, the crows caw,

and their feast

fills the air

that frosts the throat.

Coyotes cackle

from there at night.

May my death

find such regard

and satiate

the sky

with dark music.

(c) copyright 2012 Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.


  1. A very sad write; but it is nature's way. One wonders if animals view death anywhere close to the way humans do.

  2. Elegant, proud, heartfelt.....this got me.....I mean it....something about mans connection to his dog.... And against the backdrop of that winter scene.....damn well choked me up.....AND THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN! I thought I was dead inside....thank you Charles....this poem is bloody brilliant

  3. Wow, this poem was absolutely amazing. You can feel the raw emotion so clearly

  4. There is a deep reflected cold in this, mortality, yet also, intent, and it's ambiguous in enough spots that one can read it up or down the scale. The ritual of death becomes one with its place in the scheme of things, its necessity, and our own need to make it signify. This is a very unadorned piece of writing, yet it seems infinite and deep as the boundless, unstoppable snow.

  5. Charles've just up and ripped my heart out with this one. To sacrifice our own thoughts, to let him go to rest as a champion, to spend that one last night as it was meant to be spent...that takes a much stronger person than amazing pen, Poet!

  6. Awww.... that must have been heart breaking but, he did have a wild and a warriors death. So, so sad though.

  7. Snow ... in the midst of summer heat ... how did you do this?

    It is, nevertheless, a most powerful, touching, moving poem

  8. Love the use of cold and snow as a metaphor for the majesty of death ~

    The feast for the animals afterwards was a beautiful song to the mystery of death ~

  9. dude you just ripped the heart strings....i think though you gave him what he needed in the end...and it is the happens and better he spend his last in the elements he loved...i can only hope for as much...

  10. You made me cry. I could feel the biting cold, the loss, the respect.

  11. This intensity is real, beyond sadness, there is nobility here and the rightness of nature. From life to life we replenish even as we breathe no more. Well said, proud and poignant!

  12. This touched my heart. I so love dogs. Beyond this, it made me think of the importance of death (and life) with dignity for humans and animals. I love how your words elicit such emotion.

  13. /may my death/find such regard/and satiate/the sky/with dark music/--the last stanza a stand alone poem of itself; a grand gesture, a tough love effort. Most of us take the canine to the Vet, and hold them as they lick our hands just as the needle of death punctures their breath, and feel them go slack in our arms as their beautiful souls circle the room observing the torrent of tears that will last years.

  14. oh heck chaz...that gave me shivers...excellent description...the scene..the mood and then the closure -- so tight with us wanting things to make sense beyond life -- such strong images all through.. loved it

  15. Such a beautiful and atmospheric piece that circles the concept of a dignified death we all hope to experience when our time comes. What a moving piece of poetry. Exquisitely done x

  16. Wow. The sadness, and the decision to bring dignity to dead. I feel sad about the dog, your poem touched me. Great job.

  17. powerful. heartfelt. honoring the patterns of life.

  18. Very good Charles. Tearful and painful and heart wrenching, but good.

  19. A very powerful poem, Charles, with a definite point of view that frankly is not so common in our world - maybe commonly proclaimed but not carried out. The crisp but poignant descriptions are really well done and the end, I found, especially powerful--the crows and carrion and the dark music. In the end though, I think the most poignant detail (for me) was the child's sled. Really well done. k.

  20. This brought tears. It is a powerful write about death. I too find the child's sled poignant. It is a passage of dignity....I love the ending
    "May my death find such regard and satiate the sky with dark music."

  21. Ow. Oh. It is unlikely that our laws would allow this kind of dignity to a human: "I exposed him / to the cold and snow / to die fighting, majestic / and proud in memory / like the stud he was." I understand your sentiment and was moved by the story but it also reminded me of a gruesome event that i have many times tried to move into the love and kindness it most probably deserved. A one-time friend of mine had her diseased dog's skin made into a drum head and little pillow to "keep him by her." And I remembered this years later in my performance piece featuring Roy Rogers and his stuffed Pinto. That's another story. Though I have mixed feelings about this piece and its bravery, I must tell you that I admire the form and economy of your telling. Very fine indeed.

    1. Susan, you bring up great points. I would never stuff a pet that way, no matter how much I loved them. It seems odd to me. OTOH, The issue about treatment of humans in this way, is one reason I've been considering how to take thevresponsibility for it on myself. God willing, I will have the faculties to carry out the plan if/when the time comes. That way, no one coukd be help responsible for it.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

  23. wow, "dark music" indeed, yet, also so majestic

    esp liked,

    "crows caw,

    and their feast

    fills the air

    that frosts the throat. "

    a powerful tribute to us the living charles, thank you

  24. Death is difficult even to think about or to write about ~ your poem gives us an intense look at expanding how we choose to die & those close to us! In this age of separateness we tend to hide away from the space of sharing living thru even the dying of those closest to us! Excellent strength & courage is shown when we allow the transcendence of death ~ we all share in its transformation ~ well done my friend!

  25. As family member to two malamutes, I found this poem compelling. Your bravery in how you let your husky die and then wrote about him is touching. And don't we all wish that our death finds such regard. The last line about satiating the sky with dark music reminds me of the husky's (and malamutes) howls.

  26. God this is so sad and ripping at my heart, yet noble...and a reminder of our place in nature...all creatures.. A truly beautiful write!

  27. The child's blue sled really sticks out in my mind and then seeing the dog on it in my mind's eye is so heavy I had to lug it.

  28. This is splendid. Sad, but splendid. A brave and powerful write.