Even today, on this springlike winter day when the honeybees leave their hive to search for sweetness,
Even today, when bulbs poke their tentative green above the soil that should be frozen,
Even today, when doors and windows are open to let winter’s mustiness out and freshness in,
Even today, when the mud clings like March to boots and dog’s feet,
Even today, when the moon rises full as we watch it by the outside firepit,
Even today, the old dog moves stiffly, the effort causing enough pain to make him groan with it.
His gray muzzle heaves with each breath, his eyes close as his wobbly hips seek a solid stance.
How long will you be with us, old man?
Will you stay to see the true spring’s flowering and soft breezes
Or will winter’s certain return sap what little strength is left in your heart?
For now, the warmth of the fire is enough. You grunt with pleasure at its comfort.
You almost purr as we stroke your sleek black fur.
Small pleasures these may be, but to you,
Small pleasures are all life has to offer now.
Enjoy them, old man.
Even now, in this midwinter break, pleasures are rare enough for an old dog.
Enjoy them while you still can.