Thursday, 17 July 2014

'Terminal' and 'A Real Fighter'

My dog was 14 when his back legs collapsed.
Helpless, he whimpered and moaned.
The vet delivered him with a syringe.

In Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg,
the terminally ill are helped to a good
death, dignified by family goodbyes.

Here, the grim reaper can wait at the bedside
sharpening his unholy scythe for weeks,
shaving life slowly, agonisingly. Hollow-eyed.

Sue Norton

Sue lives and writes in York

Sadie in happier days

A Real Fighter

'A real fighter,' she told me afterwards.
It was, I think, a kind of apology,
rueful recognition of a duty discharged,
a job not done well but well done.
I felt some sympathy. It was not her fault:
fierceness and resilience were bred into you;
where I looked for peace and the slipping of a leash,
you bared your teeth and fought on.
For my part, though, I could only wring my hands
and surrender to the fury of my impotence
till, when all was done, nothing remained
but the memory of the soft press of your muzzle,
grizzled now but still quick and warm,
searching out the hollow of my palm.

Abigail Wyatt