Friday, February 23, 2024

Poetry Sisters Write Epistolary Poems

The challenge this month was to write an epistolary poem in the form of a love letter or Valentine. I missed our Zoom on Sunday, so I have no idea what approach my poetry peeps are taking. I hadn't given the topic of this one much thought until I sat down to write and decided to address some very sad news I received this week. 

This is my buddy Cooper. We rescued him about 6 weeks after our first rescue, Sydney, was put to sleep following a short and nasty battle with cancer. In just a few days we'll celebrate Cooper's 10th "Gotcha" Day. 

This is Cooper on February 26, 2014, his first day in his forever home.

This is Cooper enjoying a Pup Cup after a visit to the vet on Tuesday.

Here's my poem.

Love Letter to My Dying Dog

Dearest Cooper,

It's sad really
how often you're called by something 
other than your given name
  Stinky Breath
   Honey Bunny
    Butt Licker
I hope you can forgive your father
that last one
Your penchant for eating couch cushions 
and stealing his sandwiches 
has made him perpetually grumpy

I adore you, you know
there was never any question of it
You wormed your way into my heart
the first time I laid eyes on you
You were a scrawny thing 
a counter surfer from day one
as life on the streets taught you to
grab any food you could find 
to survive

Survive you did 
but more than that 
you thrived
giving and receiving more love 
than we ever imagined
Your deafness was a hurdle
we learned to negotiate
but sometimes I think 
you were happy  
to tune out the world 
live in the silence of your head
you were never bothered by 
thunder or fireworks
like your predecessor was

You reluctantly tolerated the old girl
we rescued during COVID
showing first your anger and disdain
(you didn't sleep with me for weeks!)
until you adopted an air of 
casual indifference
It was clear, however
that you missed her 
once she was gone

Do you know that 
I'm marking time now?
That extra treats and kisses
signal the beginning 
of the end?
That your days have been numbered
by cancer's ugly return?
My heart longs for more
  More walks
   More hugs
    More time
But I also pray for less
  Less pain
   Less heartache
    Less loss

I know there will be tears
and sadness
I will embrace them 
while I see you through this
long goodbye
I will be by your side
to the very end
You'll never have to wonder
how I feel about you
my beautiful, sweet boy

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2024. All rights reserved.

You can find the poems shared by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 

    Would you like to try the next challenge? In March, we’re writing in the form of the pantoum. The pantoum is a Malaysian verse form comprised of a series of quatrains, with the second and fourth lines of each quatrain repeated as the first and third lines of the next. You can learn more about this form at The Philadelphia Writer's Workshop and Masterclass. Are you in? Good! You have a month to craft your creation and share it on March 29th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!  

    Please take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday, friends!  


    1. Dear Cooper, my tears at reading this poem are for a pup called Dinah. I miss her every day. But, when I know that your Mum is giving you treats and marking time time, I remember doing the same and it's so very hard to be a pet lover during this stage. Be a good dog for your family. Help them remember you well. xo

    2. Tricia. Oh, oh, this is lovely, and heartfelt, and I'm destroyed. Sweet Cooper, happy gotcha day.

    3. I just saw your post on FB, too, Tricia, am so sorry for your latest news. There never seems to be enough time for our dear pets. Your words show the love shining through with every memory, the endearing names, even 'asshat' will bring a smile later. Hugs for you and for Cooper, too!

    4. Our own rescue dog was barking as I read this. Beautiful, Tricia. My thoughts are with y'all during this long good-bye.

    5. Poignant poem,'s so hard that our furry family members live such shorter lives than us. Sending you support during this difficult time xo

    6. Tears are streaming down my face. (You had me at the title.) The more/less section took me back to the end of our sweet Bess' life. Goodbyes are so hard.

    7. Oh Tricia! What a beautiful poem for Cooper.

    8. Oh you've captured that beautiful sadness of our furry pals lifespans not matching our own. I have been contemplating much of this as our 11-year old rescue (a hound also occasionally called butt licker) is graying and slowing. Hugs to you and to Cooper.

    9. Tricia, I'm sitting at my dining room table crying over your poem. Even though Cooper might not read poetry, I'm sure he reads your love daily. The more and less bits are wonderful...

    10. I am weeping with my own nearly-12-year-old pup by my side. They are so real and bumbling and loving and imperfectly perfect, these days. And they never -- NEVER -- live long enough.

    11. Oh, Tricia, what a beautiful tribute and love letter to Cooper. I'm so sorry about this sad news. I still miss my Sydney, who died in late 2021, and was also known by a plethora of affectionate nicknames. xo

    12. What a good boy Cooper has been! I love the list of nicknames. Losing our pets is one of the hardest realities of life.