In the meadow above
Where the big pine grows.
I swaddled him in white and flowered cloth,
Held him, stiff, in my arms
As the men with pickaxes
Opened his grave,
First the crackling sod of drought,
Next, deep hard clay.
As the pile of dry earth grew higher,
A heavy settling came over us, dusty
Silhouettes against the lowering sky.
I took my turn digging
As the men drank their water.
They watched
As I uncovered Rusty's head
To put his collar back on.
His nose felt a normal cool.
I held his pussywillow paw,
Golden gray silver, catkin-like.
Watched him sleep.
We lowered him into earth
With no words spoken,
No words unspoken.

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From aboard the Snow Goose sailboat for close to a decade.
Genesis This Morning We Buried RussBarbary ChaapelNo Name Harbor Email about the Author - Barbary Chaapel

     Rusty, an American German Shepherd, had his puppy beginnings as a street dog in Richmond, VA. He was a small shepherd, quite beautiful and always happy. A few days before his death an owl prowled our woods calling often and stridently, making me very uneasy, because, of course, I'd read Margaret Craven's book I Heard The Owl Call My Name. On the morning of his death Russ left the house for his usual morning run. At noon he climbed the hill to the barn with us and played all the way down. That evening he panted, asked to go out, stumbled down the front porch steps and violently collapsed into a coma. I lay in the back of the Jeep with him as we rushed to the vet's, telling him over an over how much we loved him, to hold on. Even then his tongue lolled. The vet couldn't save him. Too late, an x-ray had shown a foreign object in his stomach. Our heartbreak was the genesis for this poem.

Review No Name HarborCheryl Denise I Saw God Dancing Email about the Book - No Name Harbor

     "Barbary Chaapel writes from her heart, a heart of deep understanding, of human relationships and our relationship with the natural world around us. Her poetry is exquisite and beautiful, easy to read, and full of longing."

Preface No Name HarborBarbary ChaapelPublish America, LLP Preface continues

     In the first chapter, EARTH, I write of how Appalachia, these hard-scrabble mountains, shaped my family, and how I view the world because of it.

     Lake Erie's foghorn on the jetty near Painesville, Ohio became my childhood companion which led to my sailor ways. SEA is my time spent aboard small boats on big seas ...