Dr. Tulsi Hanumanthu

Rookie (10.6.1938 / India)

To My Lost Gem Julie - Poem by Dr. Tulsi Hanumanthu

(Composed in the year 2006 and first published in the 22nd Issue of Metverse Muse)

No ‘dog’ were you for me; you were my family member;
My darling dove you were, whom lifelong I’ll remember.
I know you loved me truly and understood me too;
On getting the merest clue you knew well what to do!

Whenever I wrapped your ears in readiness for your bath,
Straight towards your bathroom you’d always lead my path!
Fidgeting not, you’d freely let me shampoo you,
As and when required turning around too!

The bottle of your eardrops whene’er you saw me hold,
You’d dropp down on your flank - without being told -
To receive the drops into your ear more easily;
And then change flanks, your other ear to offer me!

Should someone tease you, snatching away your favourite snacks,
Rushing you’d come to me - each moment looking back, -
Then ‘nose’ my knees and gurgle / grunt, with a paw pointing
Towards the ‘offender’ by way of complaining!

When I myself to someone’s pranks, at times, was victim
Wouldn’t you howl and howl your head off at her or him?
Your ‘guardian’ was I but, as my ‘guard’ - night and day -
You kept vigil, keeping harm out of my way!

But now no more you are, my most faithful friend!
Our happy times together have reached the rudest end.
No more for me the several signals of your love,
Since still on earth I am and you’re in Heaven above!

From outdoors when I return, you’ll receive me no more
With your typical ‘welcome whoops’ at the master door;
Barring my way in, no more will you stand
And raise your right foreleg, offering a ‘shake-hand’!

Your love knew no limits; you shared it with felines
As much as with humans and your brethren canines.
Numerous kittens hadn’t you suckled soulfully
And frisked about with many a cat mirthfully?

Apart from me and other inmates of our house,
You let our guests too - sans snarls or ‘whow-whows’ -
Hold and pet your pups as soon as they were born!
Your faith in all was such, of mistrust wholly shorn.

Along with your puppies you suckled kittens too,
And allowed cats to play with them! You well knew
No harm to them will even our feline fam’ly cause -
By keeping carefully in control their sharp claws.

But now when our kittens by street dogs are chased,
You’ll spurt no more your ‘siren screams’ like one crazed!
When Jimmy takes to tantrums, you’ll calm him down no more
By fondling his forehead with your soft and soothing paw!

Your last four months, able not to eat on your own,
- Your bloated belly having become as hard as stone -
Umpteen times, each hour, you’d ope’ your mouth for me
To spoon-feed you with liquids, despite your difficulty.

Cancer creates excruciating pain, I’m told;
But not a single moan you uttered till you were cold!
You hid from me your suff’ring lest I weep for you:
At your selfless sufferance amazed were doctors too!

Though day by day reduced you were to skin and bone,
Hearing not from you, at any time, a groan
To indicate your subjection to intensive pain,
Hardly could I believe that by Cancer you were slain!

Six days before your death, didn’t you wag your tail
When a visitor greeted you, pretending you were hale?
Others in your plight would have whined and wailed.
Your courage and composure unknown heights had scaled!

Although a ‘country’ dog not claiming any ‘breed’,
In temper’ment and talents you matchless were indeed!
You were, O queen of canines, one in a crore!
Your lovely life’s story will soon become folklore.

With all our guests and visitors you were always friendly;
All our cats and kittens you always treated kindly.
A dog so good and gracious, so loving and lovable,
More than ‘one in a crore’ can be - is it believable?

For over eleven years were you my prized possession.
Oft I prayed to God to grant me the concession
Of letting us be together for at least a few years more.
But this was not to be; no points my prayers could score.

Miserable though I feel, at times I’m glad - realising
That rid you are for ever of severest suffering.
With liver, spleen and ut’rus all damaged beyond measure,
Would hanging on to life have given you any pleasure?

In your final moments, when people pulled me back,
Preventing distraught me from clasping you - alack! -,
What supernal source lent you sudden energy
To half lift yourself and crawl up towards me?

Your laying your head upon my feet your last breath
To leave - I’ll forget not until my own death.
What surer proof of gratitude and loyal love
Than this star salute of yours, O Julie, my dove?

In my heart you’ll live though bodily you’re no more;
Of your many mem’ries my mind maintains a store.
My dreams revolve around you many a blessed night
When, of your living image I’m able to catch sight.

I often used to worry what will become of you
Should I leave this world ere you could so do.
This perplexing problem thus to solve HE chose: -
Electing to grant you, first, everlasting repose.

Cruel though to me, to you kind HE was;
Each clause of HIS laws, is surely free of flaws?
In my care, Julie dear, though you were happy;
In HIS eternal care, blissfuL you will be.

Farewell then - and fare you well. No more tears
To shed I’ll try. For those great eleven years
At least that I could share with you, our Lord I thank.
With HIM too, in Heaven, I know you’ll highly rank.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, February 5, 2010

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