Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When You Live With a Wolf

When you live with a wolf,
you learn about
to the wild,
and to another being,
without barriers,
even speech,
because, so often,
your minds meet
and, sometimes,
he tries to talk.

When you live with a wolf,
you must seek out
the wild places
He must never
be caged,
or enclosed
or tied up,
for his spirit must
run free and unfettered,
as it would with his pack.
He resists all restraints,
refuses to submit,
remains Alpha,
stays with you because
he chooses to,
not because you make him.

Living with you
is a negotiation he makes,
because he loves you,
but you know
that he relinquishes a lot;
it is a compromise he makes,
in giving up the wild
to live in a house
with you.
Walls remain foreign
to his substance.
He will eat a doorjamb,
of an afternoon,
to be Out
rather than In.

When you live with a wolf,
his intelligence and devotion
shine in his eyes,
which never leave you.
They follow you as you move
about the house.
They watch your halting progress
around the yard.
He remains on the alert
for danger,
lies at the front edge of the yard
where he can survey
all goings and comings.
He is ready to protect you,
places his body between
you and any threat.

But when you are walking
through the forest,
by the river
or along the beach,
then he is gone
far ahead,
his spirit joyously
at one with the wild,
and he wont come back
until he is ready.

He loops back
to check on you
every now and then,
and he always knows
just where you are.
When it is time, he will return
and, with resignation
and a heartfelt sigh, 
climb grudgingly
into the car
to resume domesticity once more.
His heart accompanies you,
but his wild free spirit
he has left behind,
as have you,
on those beloved wild shores,
to be picked up again
on your return.

When you live with a wolf,
you live with a very large presence.
This makes his eventual absence
somewhat difficult to bear.
But  those years
as twin souls,
that called forth your
deep wilderness nature,
taught you joy
as no one and nothing else
ever could.

For them,
you would not have
traded anything.
For them,
you can bear the pain.
For them-
for him -
you will,
eternally and forever,
give thanks.

Kids, I have just finished reading The Philosopher and the Wolf, by Mark Rowlands, recommended to me by Mary. It stirred up a lot around missing Pup, but also explained why that particular bond runs so deep. Wolves are highly intelligent, and have very evolved personalities. Pup and I had a somewhat psychic link - he could read either my mind or my energy. All I had to do was think about going for a walk, to have him leap up, excitedly barking and herding me to the door.

Pup suffered the loss of the wild when I was forced to leave Tofino. He grieved it, as did I, in the years following. He suffered the restrictions of living in town to be with me. For both of our sakes, I had to get us to a wild place every afternoon, until his legs gave out on him, in his last year.

It was bittersweet to read about Mark's life with his wolf, Brenin. Mark says it is not what we have, but who we are during our highest, and our lowest, moments, that defines us. Some of my highest moments were lived in Tofino, with a big black wolf at my side.


  1. I'm so glad Mary recommended the book, Sherry, because it seems to have provided you with some peace and understanding of your life and your loss.
    Luv, K

  2. A wonderful poem. It seems like you have resolved some issues in your heart. A blessing to be able to do that.

  3. What a wonderful tribute to a marvelous and beloved untamed spirit.

  4. Sherry, I knew you would appreciate this book (despite some of its meanderings). Though I did not know Pup, I thought of him often as Mark wrote about HIS wolf and their connection. I do think Mark had the kind of relationship he had with his wolf hat you had with Pup. One that few can understand. Blessings to you, Sherry, as you continue to mourn your best friend. I GET it. Really I do.

  5. The book did give me some understanding - and I feel the same gratitude Mark felt for having such an amazing experience. Because Pup and I shared the same wild wilderness spirit, and he was my connection to the wild, I lost much when he died that it is hard to reclaim without him. But those years at the beach - they were golden. I happily pay any price in return for having had them.

  6. A beautiful piece Sherry...I grew up wild and free as a child with my pet dogs by my side. Within me I still have that spirit that balks at conventional and I set if free with my pen. So thankful you shared your wonderful days with Pup.

  7. sherry, i love this poem. it's amazing how deftly you describe this bond and how pup brought you to your wild side. how he chose you and talked to you. i'm not big into dogs but if anyone could make me change my mind, i am sure it's you. and your words also remind me how disconnected from my own wilderness this nature girl is. time to get outta town! thank you.

  8. Beautiful, Sherry. I'll have to check out that book, too.

  9. A wonderful tribute to your Pup, Sherry - I will have to hunt down Mark's book now also but am certain already that it will reflect much of my life with our Farley (as I'm sure you remember, Pup's twin who lives with us ...)The more I learn about you, the more fascinated I am ... Tofino, huh? Long Beach used to be one of my favourite spots on earth (still is but I miss the days when it was more beach, fewer people) and oddly enough, the last time I was there, I spent an entire night on the beach with my late brother, his wolf, and a pod of whales! The world is indeed a small place ...

  10. Sherry this is a magnificent prose poem in tribute to your Pup!! Such a wonderful lesson in your relationship. Just beautiful!!!!

  11. This resonates so deeply in me. You know I swear my little Yorkie Timmy reads my mind too. I only have to 'think' about taking him for a walk and he's there sitting at the front door waiting. Your bond with your boy will never be broken and, I can also identify with your grieving. To lose a beloved pet is exactly the same as losing any other much loved family member.
    What a lovely write Sherry, bought tears to my eyes.
    He knows, he sees, he feels.

  12. What an amazing tribute to your Pup. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but think that it could also apply to some relationships between humans.

  13. I do hope he sees and feels. I so miss him. Lola, I reread it after your comment and see how well it could apply to humans. It would be the very best kind of human relationship, if one applied these principles, would it not?

  14. This is so beautiful, Sherry. Just as he he knew when you thought of walking, I believe he knows of this love you still have for him. He is with you, and always will be.

  15. Sherry, sorry I have been out of touch... we are moving to a new apartment.

    This was not only a moving tribute to your relationship with Pup, it holds an overarching theme of all wild things, of the Wild One inside all of us, the part that longs to go back to nature.

    A reminder to all those who seek to harm this planet, and a life-affirming poem for those of us who cherish this earth in all its untamed glory! Peace, Amy

  16. Sherry, I read this today again and truly am moved again by it. You treated Pup so well, gave him 'wild' every afternoon even after you had left the wild. Pup LIVES in you!

  17. this is a stunning ode to man's best friend, an absolutely wonderful tribute to Pup, your descriptions, the words are all just so moving and well constructed! the spirit in a pet is as tangible as that of a human's, if not stronger, as you noted - so much more is unsaid, it's just the knowing, this reminded me of my own dog! lovely poem Sherry!

  18. I have to go back to understand your latest post and I now appreciate this lovely tribute. I have no pet, so I don't understand this deep connection with another dog. But your words strike deep within me...its wonderfully uplifting and though sad, happy memories bound in your heart.

  19. Sherry, I enjoyed reading this poem again. I like the idea especially that when one lives with a wolf one must seek out the wild places daily. Wild places are indeed those places that are good for one's soul, places that are not only good for the wolf but are good with the wild in the human as well.

  20. living with you is a negotiation he makes...i really liked that...as it was not just us accomodating them but opened the door to what they face dealing with use as well....smiles....i like the giving thanks as well...i need to check out this book sherry

  21. Yeah, wolves are a beast unto themselves, all right. It's why I have a turtle.

  22. It must be an honor to be part of his pack... Really to have a wolf with you at all times.. A real privilege

  23. Amazingly they are just as intelligent in assessing situations. They could not speak but communicate they did. One can be guided by the way they work themselves. Thanks for sharing Sherry! Great!


  24. what a wonderful tribute to your boy pup Sherry..
    and such deep relationship...i like the closing lines of gratitude...

  25. Quite frankly I think the bond one forges with ones pets is as strong as the bond one forges with their children.And if it is not then it should be.
    Beautiful poem of reciprocated love.

  26. What a great poem, Sherry! Living with an animal is not just about human satisfaction. We need to remember that our pets enjoy the outside and the wild and need to reconnect with it on a regular basis.

  27. Your wolf has never been forgotten by me, Sherry. He comes alive in my mind every time I read about him in your poetry.

  28. He loops back
    to check on you
    every now and then,

    That is the essence of love, summed up in what might seem a small gesture, but is in fact a huge one. In humans too, whether checking up on your neighbour when the milk has not been taken in or on your spouse when things are slightly different.
    Full of good nuances in here.

  29. an understanding of true nature :)

  30. Wolf is in you and your poems forever, but this one has a difference--a great acceptance of the charge you two gave each other. I love it.

  31. Oh, this is just so so beautiful, Sherry. I read it again and again....thanks so much for sharing.
    I love your pup...and the connections we make with them are magical... unbelievable. Great tribute to the big boy!!
    I must try and grab this book now. Hope it's available in Indian market.

  32. Sherry, this is a deep poem on so many levels. When you live with a wolf you sense his spirit and he senses yours. It is a connection or bond that cannot be broken when there is love and respect. I do not know of this book but, I will have to check it out. Wishing you a beautiful day.

  33. I think in many ways the untamed soul of the wolf does speak to that part of our soul that itself is untamed although we hide it away...

  34. Sometimes I think I live with a wolf (of the two-legged variety). Your poem helps me to understand what's going on in this relationship. Thank you.

  35. You seemed to have delved into the very soul of your wolf pup and given him a voice. Being with a human and adapting to one must have been such a compromise. But i think you and your wolf go all the way back to those aeons when you were born of the same God. Therefore he stuck with you till he went on to afterlife. I loved the flow of words.

  36. The second dog poem I've read today... So much love, so much longing and so much understanding. Brilliant! Just brilliant!

  37. aaaahh oooooooh ! Beautiful animal.
    nicely expressed

  38. Oh, Sherry so deep connection! The understanding of the animal you live with - such a responsibilities, the trust in each other, the feeling of one family...Great tribune!

  39. how wonderful to read this, a dog's a dog a wolf's a wild animal; one can be tethered and one will not allow it; these characteristics really should not be overlooked in our human relationships, how wise you are

    Have a nice Sunday

    much love...

  40. Lovely poem! I love wolves - am a bi wolfish myself, and I love Canada so this is double good for me!

  41. You explore this bond so well in this piece Sherry! Really makes me think that the human animal bond can be sacred

  42. a lovely tribute to a friend. and a protector.


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