Monday, August 16, 2010

Poem for Monday - The Naturalist's Last Love Poem

I found this poem on Verse Daily today. It speaks to me so clearly. At the moment I am nursing a dying cat --- my best animal friend for 11 years. Only last week he was himself ~ and now by increments he is becoming less and less himself, sleeping for most of the day and no longer eating like a teenage boy. He retains an interest in squirrels and hummingbirds --- this is for Otis.

The Naturalist's Last Love Poem

Nothing on earth
can last forever.
It's become an art:
rain and the river

cut cliffs. Cold swings;
leaves fall with fervor.
Birds molt: their wings
lost feather by feather.
By increments,
tides slink like fever
from shore. Immense,
they drift out further.
So, when she leaves,
the world's small favor:
I'll forget, by degrees—
if over and over.

Ashley Anna McHugh is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at the University of Arkansas and is a senior editor of Linebreak. Her book, Into These Knots (lvan R. Uee), and chapbook, Become All Flame (LATR) are forthcoming. She won the 2009 Morton Marr Poetry Prize and has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writer's Conference and the West Chester University Poetry Conference.


  1. Lovely poem, Susan. We're experiencing something similar with one of our dogs, who hasn't been his Westie self for some time now. Losing a pet is one of the most difficult things to experience. Thinking of you.

  2. Thank you, Maureen,
    He got the diagnosis 9 days ago and already the vet says there is little time left. It is so utterly unfair.

  3. At the end, my cat used to sleep in my hair.

  4. Beautiful poem and tribute to Otis, Susan. My heart goes out to you.