Sunday, June 20, 2010


This elegy was written in the style of John Milton's "Lycidas."  Teufel-hunden is German for devil dogs; this is what the German Army called the U.S. Marines during World War I (USMC Press).

Teufel Hund

My pen and heart are private matters
I do not share
Out of turn.
But some moments cannot be ignored
And warrant a poet's touch
To put in words what the heart
Won't say.
Death is a matter beyond
Words and thought and speech.
All that makes a poet worthy of commentary is
The muse with which she speaks.
And now I write because the mighty 
Teufel Hund
Has fallen.
So speak muse and give me words.
I have none to offer.
The Teufel Hund must never die.
I need him with me longer.
Once he led my whole
Wide world, and held me close,
His daughter.
He held my hand as he led me
Down the switchbacks,
Past my fear,
To see the beauty of the cavern
The large grand halls of 
Earth-old stone
And dripping stalactites growing
The moist stalagmites beneath them.
The stones as round and as lofty as 
Marble clouds.
He wrapped me in his own shirt and held
My hand so I was
Beside him.
Safe to marvel at the gaping hole in the earth that we
Thought was carved by Noah's flood.
My Teufel Hund walked with me
Through the red and yellow stone
So big it had to be fake,
Except the clouds left shadows I could
Wrap my hand around as I reached out
To touch the wonder of 
Stars above an open cave and the 
Waterfalls we walked beside, exploring
Our new home.  We didn't need the 
Fancy, fashionable vacations of resort
Hotels and grown-up roller coasters and 
Casinos or bikinis on the beach.
We went to Disney World, the zoo, and
The aquarium.
That was enough.
We only loved each other.
But now my Teufel Hund is gone
And I still say it came too 
We weren't ready yet.
I'm still not ready yet.
He's gone and welcomed home
By Seraphim.  Shaking hands and 
Saluting.  A Teufel Hund in Heaven.
He's not mine anymore.  I have
To share and let him go.  And
The canyon and the cavern are both 
Much more
Than I really cared to know.
And so I raged and screamed and 
Cried against a God of taking.
I blamed and argued and fought my way to my final
And then when I became no more 
My muse reached down to touch me
And showed me things not said
Before, and soothed away my aching.
But I still held on to my last breath,
The Teufel Hund inside me, and
Tried to find the one
So I could hurt someone more than I had been.
I looked back to find a time before grief and
I found the cause of all my hurt. 
The thief who'd stolen my home. 
He took by offering and
In offering took everything.
Eden was once pristine, mowed 
And combed.  Healthy, lively trees and 
Small pink roses just 
Blooming full of
Promise and hope
Created before Adam
The Master's touch tending His
Ivy and vines, the fish in the 
river and the funny gangly fawns the
way a mother watches her chubby baby rocking in the cradle.
Earth was the first creation and
Was just as pure as if an
air filter ran there,
sponsored by David Orick, only without
electricity and such,
and it didn't hurt human
beings to breath in and out and try 
to make it through the day to day.
The disgusting
Climbed around on his
Pre-detention legs
And slithered at the woman to 
Open Pandora's box.
Out came all the heathen gods and
Milton's disturbingly incestuous
Sin and Death.
I watched the latter
With his brother/uncle
Illness come and hurt my 
Teufel Hund.
And as much as I wanted to 
Go sock somebody in the nose
And make them bleed and splutter
Up their own cartilage
The muse held me back and
Pointed to the tensely waiting army of 
Seraphim, angels, cherubim,
And all the other -ims in Heaven
Armed and ready from the 
Dimming of the morning's son.
My Teufel Hund is with them.
So I will wait and write 
What I am told until dead Earth
Lets go its hold and I'm allowed
To live again and hold my Teufel Hund's
Familiar hand.
So the girl put down the pen and the paper
And walked into the cavern.
Turning back and forth along the switchbacks
By herself
Arm outstretched to some unseen guardian.


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