©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts
DEATH OF WILBUR
(ON MY BIRTHDAY!)
Old friend, you saw the summer's last leaf fall
there in the walnut grove along the hill,
by that spot we'd passed so many times
on our way to seasonal chores
of cutting wood or planting corn.
One time, I remember, you waited for me
and stretched your legs in the sultry morning's shade
while I put in the brace for the new fence.
Neither of us could have guessed you'd seek out
that rockrimmed patch of grass again,
urgently, as if through your whole life you ran,
casting your last strength away,
to reach that portal of dog heaven
on that bright November day.
Wilbur was a city dog, a Labrador, who found his element among the rocky, wooded hills and an ever-active, rushing stream of our new home. He loved to eat apples, carrots and hard cabbage hearts, and he never tired of children, who he would curl up with in the cramped back of our VW Bug for the long rides to and from Maryland, just after we bought the farm. An amusing incident that testified to his fondness for these rides was the anger and impatience he showed toward several local dog acquaintances, who wanted to play with him, just as we were leaving for our city home!