Jim's Prose/Poetry
How Could You?


How Could You? | German: Wie konntest Du nur? | French: Comment t'as pu? | Spanish: ¿Cómo pudiste? | Other languages | Beloved of Bast [Unter dem Schutze von Bast] | Christine's Magic Box | The meaning of m.u.t.t. | The Importance of Being Ernest | The Basset Chronicles | Jim's Prose/Poetry | We Are Their Heroes | A Letter to the Human Race | Sacrificial Offering | Inspiration and Comfort | Inspiration and Comfort II | Favorite Links | Our World - A Photo Album | September 11th Tribute Writings

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The Messenger

Copyright Jim Willis 2001

I dreamed I came upon a meadow
sunlit and fragrant, a small dog at my side.
As we walked on in silence I saw
across the blue ribbon of a river, a field,
where animal spirits licked the morning dew
from brilliant poppies...basked in sunshine...
batted at butterflies.

"Is this Heaven?" I asked.
He nodded yes and as we rounded a bend in the path,
I saw ahead a wondrous garden
surrounded by a halo of mist,
where animals and children lay among the flowers.
Cool breezes rustled leaves
and over all hung an aura of beauty and peace.

"Is this Heaven, too?" I asked.
"An honored place," he said, "for those who lived
a Hell on Earth - who died of neglect, torture,
unloved, unwanted and abandoned."

We walked on until we came to a precipice
that overlooked a dark canyon.
Lightning crashed above the horizon
and illuminated iron prisons on the desert floor.
I heard the wails of captive men,
the screams of women imploring for water,
railing against the absence of Light amidst an acrid smoke.

Before I could ask he answered, "These were their tormentors."

We continued solemnly
until the sound of laughter and music greeted us,
and we came upon a village square,
where carefree women, children and men played at games,
or walked arm in arm.
"They are happy," I said.
He agreed and replied, "These were their rescuers.
They are blessed above all."

I spent time among them until I awoke, bathed in a new peace.
For whatever this Earthly day may bring,
I knew that no wrongful deed goes unpunished,
nor is any saving grace without its reward.

I hugged my small dog closer to my chest
and blessed him as a messenger of truth and love.

Forest Lessons

Copyright Jim Willis 2001


I know a place untouched by sorrow,
where leafy bowers wave,
where Man has seldom left his mark,
where memories dwell in caves.
There in verdant pleasures I lose myself
and ponder thoughts reserved
for quiet times of deep reflection,
where true feelings are preserved.
I often take my dog along,
she always knows the way
to woodland treasures hidden deep,
where for hours we might stay...
a soaring cathedral of ancient pines,
jeweled windows of a foliage canopy,
an altar built of hickory boughs,
offerings of violets and wild sweet pea.
I contemplate the solitude,
vow to leave my life behind,
recall a primeval innocence,
the joys of a simpler time.
Too soon the dusk approaches,
and we must take our leave,
with backward glances we forge on,
rejuvenated and relieved -
of burdensome, worrisome thoughts,
of clocks and everyday concerns,
but we'll return soon one day
and of more forest lessons learn.

Promises Kept

Copyright Jim Willis 2001

You run in different fields now. Effortless.
You jump and play with wild abandon. Painless.
Eternally young and carefree. Timeless.

There is a shroud over my heart. Darkness.
Days are longer and empty without you. Cheerless.
I still keep your pillow next to my bed. Sleepless.

The years march on. Ceaseless.
The memories never wane. Impervious.
I feel the moment of my fading, then...Brightness.

We run in different fields now. Effortless.
We jump and play with wild abandon. Painless.
Together for all eternity. Glorious.

"IF" for Dogs
(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

Copyright Jim Willis 2001

Illustration titled "Oops!" courtesy of Pam Tanzey, www.pamtanzey.com


If you can stay off of the couch when others can't
and are blaming it on you,
If you can keep from counter-cruising,
or at least have the sense to blame them, too,
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting
for your owner late from work again,
and not mess your crate, or if not crated,
have the sense to use the den.

If you can run a little faster than your master,
If you can drink and pee with aim,
If you can meet cats without disaster,
and from eating them refrain;
If you can try to hit non-doglovers
with flings of food and drool,
or bury the things your human needs,
especially car keys, gloves and tools.

If you can make one heap of all your toys,
or strew them about on the stairs,
or place them discretely under cushions,
while your owner is blissfully unawares;
If you can coerce the neighbor kids
to feed you more treats than allowed,
or convince the dogsitter to serve you dinner
and of your unexplained weightgain be proud.

If you can walk through crowds without a muzzle,
or "break wind" and implicate a human,
If neither squirrels or roadkills divert you,
and you can ignore the UPS man,
If you can stand to car-ride with your owner,
and despite the driving, not throw-up,
then you are ahead of most creatures,
and - which is more - you are a Dog, my pup!

(On Fostering)
Copyright Jim Willis 2001

Our paths will cross for only a short time,
but while you are in my care I will be devoted to you.
If memories of your former life are painful, I will help erase them.
No longer will you hunger and I will help to heal your wounds.
If your former life was good, I will promise you an even better future.

One day our time together will come to an end
and you will go off to your new home, healthy, happy and healed.
As a parting gift, I will give you a piece of my heart to remember me by.
I may shed a tear...not for my loss, but for your gain.

Perhaps our paths may cross again for a fleeting instant
and I will be comforted by the aura of love that surrounds you.
There will always be a bond between us,
though we walk separate paths through this life.

After we reach our heavenly reward our paths may cross again.
You may try to return the piece of my heart
with thanks for all that I did for you.
I will tell you to keep it and thank you
for showing me that I could be better
than I thought I could be,
and that I learned in giving came the greatest gifts.

The pieces of our hearts are like grains of sand.
They are pulled along a current beyond our control
until they come together and form a safe haven.

I, like you, came to understand what it meant to be saved.

Wind & Water

Copyright Jim Willis 2001

Wind and water, ocean breeze,
and I alone on bended knee
can while away contented hours,
for while the others sleep at night,
I watch the seagulls' endless flight
across thy surface, to the moon
that bathes in light the golden dunes.

Here thou once did implore
sailors' vessels to explore,
with fluid motion thou did reach
and dashed their boats on rocky beach.
And even yet thou plays this game
to roll and billow, kill and maim.
But thou are a puppet on a string,
thou heeds the Moon for when she sings
thy tides must course along the path she chooses,
to escape her wrath -

But who controls the Moon, you say?
What ethereal force at end of day
makes her orb in stillness stand?
I do! For by my hand her crystal globe
ebbs and sways across the waters 'til break of day.