Poem for Sunday: The Gift of a Morning

tortoiseshell cat in greens

Cookie in my garden.

I’ll be speaking a little later today about “Loving Again After Loss, Why We Adopt Pets” at the Pet Memorial Sunday Ceremony by Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation and remembering again all the cats who came to shape my life and left me a better person.

Just as my cats have inspired me to visual art, so have they inspired me to creative writing. I’m sharing three poems here about or inspired by Cookie, Kelly and Moses, both as text and audio/visual where I’ve had the opportunity to record my reading of the poem and create a slideshow of images to accompany. The Gift of a Morning was awarded both a Certificate of Excellence and Muse Medallion by the Cat Writers Association, and was written simply about a moment of beauty inspired by Cookie.

I had included the remarks below with the post of Things I Found in the  Woods, and it is a reflection of the continuum my evolving family of felines has been in my life:

Ten years ago I lived with a largely different group of nine cats, only Cookie and Kelly still with me from those days. Ten years from now the group will be similarly changed. But each of them from before this time and the years to come is forever a part of my life.

…now all my losses have become one and are no longer losses, not a big chasm of dark sadness but a bright collective of memories of all their lives mingled with mine in the same way I remember the turns of the seasons. Their losses are not separate from me and my life, but their lives are a permanent part of who I am and the cats I live with today as I remember being in the garden with Moses, the day I first saw Stanley with ice crystals collecting on his fur, the way the furniture was arranged when I moved in here and everyone collected on the table by the door when I left in the morning, watching Mimi outside and deciding she should come to live with me.

Their lives are not a part of my past, but of my present; just as the earth holds the memories of all that’s past and turns it into new life, so do I.

Cookie gave me many gifts in all the years she was with me, including the visual discoveries from this particular morning in September 2011 which led to a poem and insights beyond what I wrote that morning, and remembering that morning and other mornings I have come to the end of a stage. The poem text and an audio version of the poem with a slideshow are at the end of this post.

Read more of the original post, which includes a remembrance of Cookie.

Here is the poem, and you can also watch it with the embedded video, below, or view it on YouTube.

The Gift of a Morning

I thought Cookie
was being stubborn, contrary,
when she wandered away
into the overgrown garden
sauntering at her own pace beneath the stems
of fallen burdock and grasses
and through the forest
of tall goldenrod and asters
where I couldn’t follow.

She sat calmly among grasses and blooming beggar’s ticks
and when I arrived at her side, irritated,
skirt prickly with stickseed and burdock pods,
I reached to pick her up, bad girl,
and turned to see what she studied,
and saw my garden awash with sun
majestic tufts of goldenrod backlit by beams of light
humming with hungry bees finding
the sweetest autumn nectar for their final meal,
white poofs of sow thistle holy in their radiance,
and the first calico asters, my favorite
dappled with passing drops of sun
against the backdrop of dark silhouetted trees;
so much to love in a sweet autumn morning
so much I would have missed.

poem © 2010 B. E. Kazmarski

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