Lytton and Here

Lytton is an amazing dog. Somehow he managed to pull a bag of rawhide chews off the top of the frigo while Benoît and I were out shopping last night. I didn’t realise this until I went to give him his nightly chew. There were none left. He didn’t appear in the least bit repentant either. To look at him last night, you’d think he had been starving for days.

In the seven years I have known him, I have forgiven him much because he listens avidly to me. This morning I read a bunch of poems to him. He curled up beside me – he seems to like it best when I try out different voices. He has the most amazing and kind eyes that you could ever hope to encounter.

Today I read an entire book of poetry by Helen Humphreys to him, entitled, The Perils of Geography (okay it’s a short book). If you’ve never read anything by Helen Humphreys, you are missing out on a wonderful author. Although Canadian, she isn’t one of the authors we hear about here. It’s a shame … she wrote The Lost Garden which is one of my favourite books of all time. If push came to shove, I would have to say that, bar none, it is the best gardening book that I have ever read.

This is a poem that spoke to me on this cold winter afternoon. It is Here:

The way the light
falls, what it touches.
Gardens on
the quiet streets,
when afternoon is soft
as breathing, slow
as slow as this.

Certainty of colour,
the sharp surprise of
blue under the beeches. The
open mouths of roses.
A small collapse
of the familiar, a shift
as soft as this.

The slow rise of love.
Memory of someone’s face,
a sure and sudden gift.
On an afternoon as quiet,
as quiet as this, the
way the light falls,
what it touches.

30 thoughts on “Lytton and Here

  1. nikkipolani says:

    There’s a certain symmetry in the poem that is very beautiful, Kate. Thank you for that most unique paper balloon you sent and your lovely Christmas card. We’d just gotten home from the vet and your parcel was just in time for some needed cheer.

  2. No Rain says:

    Beautiful poem, and a handsome dog. He has a sad look, which I suppose is a characteristic of his breed. I’m sure he’s a happy dog, getting all that special attention. Happy Holidays,Aiyana

  3. Andrea's Garden says:

    Dear Kate, what a beautiful poem and a beautiful dog. Who could not forgive him when he looks at you? 🙂 Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Andrea

  4. Cicero Sings says:

    Have you ever read “At Home in Mitford” by Jan Karon? A novel, but the main character’s dog attentively listened to him too. Actually, it is a series … once you read one you’re kind of hooked!

  5. susanna says:

    Ohhhhh…this IS a beautiful poem and it is so visual. Not only that but I can feel that afternoon sun and smell the scent of the roses and even a breeze coming from underneath the beech trees. I love Canadian authors and not because I’m Canadian. There’s a way of writing that seems to be, well, Canadian. Hard to describe or at least for ME to describe! Michael Ondaantje and Anne Michaels are my favourite. And now I’ve been introduced to Helen Humphreys. I’m going to look her up online. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll be in my local library… Thank you for the introduction.PS – labs always seem to be so happy and content, don’t they?

  6. Ingrid says:

    I love your dog. And the look on his face, he is doing a great acting job there, pretending to be thinking: “What do you mean the chews are missing, who took them?”He makes me laugh.Happy holidays!

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your post was a sure and sudden gift indeed. Your Lytton reminds me of my chocolate lab, Mishka. I had him for 15 years. Aaahhh The best dog ever for me. He would listen to me too. He was a wonderful companion.

  8. Mary says:

    Wonderful poem. I enjoyed it as much as your small tribute to Lytton, the hungry dog ;o) I talk to my dogs all the time – they understand.

  9. anna maria says:

    Thank you for the beautiful photo of Lytton and the lovely poem. I never thought of reading out to loud to my dogs. I’ll have to try it with Eden and Joshua, unfortunately Asha is pretty much deaf now, boo hoo!

  10. Ragged Roses says:

    What a beautiful poem Kate! Lytton is such a handsome dog. Wishing you and your family a wonderful ChristmasKIMx

  11. Gina says:

    Oh Lytton is such a sweetie! He must have thought his Christmas had come early discovering those chews!Beautiful poem too Kate. Wishing you, Lytton and all your family a wonderful Christmas! Gina xx

  12. this is my patch says:

    Thanks for the tip on the author, I shall look her up. Lytton has real character and a taste for chews! Happy Holidays to you all. x

  13. Naturegirl says:

    Kate I agree this poem is beautiful! I love your Lytton..my daughter has a golden lab and know about eating everthing ..oh how much fun did he have stealing ((ALL THOSE TREATS))) Good thing Christmas comes but once a year Lytton..woof!!Wishing you a blessed and joy filled Christmas celebration dear Kate hugs NG xo

  14. Curtis says:

    What a wonderful poem and dog. Your Lytton sounds like a good garden and reading companion. We forgive our canine friends of a lot because they listen to us rant and rave. Also comfort us.

  15. Willow says:

    Lovely poem! I shall have to reread it several times to really get the sense and structure, just like one has to look at a garden over and over to appreciate its sense and structure.Merry Christmas to you all from Willow in her California Cottage.

  16. gracia says:

    Wishing you happy, happy days, Kate.See you in the shiny new year… it’s sure to be green and marvelous!take care, g xo

  17. aria says:

    lytton – that face!!! he seems perfect to read to on a cold day. what a good friend he is. lovely poem too. i wrote lots this weekend. gotta post it. its scaaarry!!happy holidays 🙂

  18. jodi says:

    The catchildren inform me that though they don’t normally approve of dogs, Lytton looks like a good one, so they join with me in wishing you all the most joyous of Christmases, dear Kate!

  19. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    Thanks for sharing that lovely poem Kate, I enjoyed reading it and understand completely why Lytton listens avidly when you read this to him. 😉

  20. clairesgarden says:

    well… he does look slightly hungry….I hope you’ve had a good christmas without too much thievery, many best wishes for this coming year.

  21. Tammy says:

    This post lifted me up. That poem spoke to me as your garden speaks to your spirit. “Open mouths of roses” was a wonderful line.We are getting a Chocolate Lab next summer. Lytton is very handsome!Happy 2008XXOO

  22. Clare says:

    Hi Kate! Moose is so jealous that Lytton ate a whole bag of rawhide! But Moose is proud of him too, and wants to learn his technique. That’s so sweet that you read poetry to Lytton and that he’s a good listener. I love the poem you included in this post — it has a wonderful feel to it. Thank you for sharing it! And I love the photo of Lytton, too!:)

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