Tag Archives: Morrie

Morrie Plays Pool Basketball

 

For you Morrie fans, here is a video of my housesitter Ian teaching him to play basketball in the pool. Don’t worry. Ian isn’t really in the au naturel. He has on flesh colored trunks. Morrie is nude.

Morrie’s Ball: NaPoWriMo–last day for 2020!

 


Morrie’s Ball

I throw the ball and throw the ball,
over my head in an arc to the garden downhill from the pool
where every midnight I do aerobic exercises and yoga,
trying to stem the freezing-up of joints,
the spreading of spare tires around the waist.

I am allergic to the sun,
and so these sometime-between-midnight-
and-3 a.m.-sessions in the pool

have come to be habit,
with both me and the small black shaggy dog
who leaves his bed in the doggie domain,
no matter how late I make the trip to the pool,
carrying his green tennis ball.

It is the latest in a long progression of balls
chewed to tatters until they are incapable of buoyancy
that sink to the pool bottom to be picked up by toes,
toed to hand, and thrown down again.
When they are replaced in the morning with a fresh ball,
he still searches for the old one,
like a child’s nigh nigh, grown valuable through use.

Again and again he drops the ball in the pool
and I interrupt every fifth repetition to throw the ball.
Like an automaton, he returns with precision,
then is off like a flash so fast
that sometimes he catches the ball I throw before it hits the ground.
This little dog, faithful in his returns,
sometimes jumps up on the grassy mound
I’ve made for him in a big flower pot by the pool,
chews the ball,
drops and catches it before it falls to the water,
drops and catches,
as though teasing me
the way houseguests might have teased him in the past with a false throw.

Or, sometimes he drops it on the grass,
noses it to the edge and then catches it before it falls.
Over and over, constructing his own games.
Then, bored or rested up from his countless runs,
he lofts the ball into the water precisely in front of me
and I pause in my front leg kicks
to resume my obligation.

But this night, he returns listless after the third throw.

“Go get the ball, Morrie,” I command, and he runs with less speed and vigor down the hill to the garden. I hear him checking out his favorite places,  but he does not return, and when I call him, finally, he returns, ball-less, jumps up on his mound and falls asleep.

He’s getting old, I think.
Hard to imagine this little ball of energy
as being anything but a pup.
He’ll bring it to me tomorrow, I think.
But tomorrow
and tomorrow
and tomorrow
brings no Morrie with a ball.

When I go down to the hammock the next day,
his enthusiastic leap up onto my stomach
is the same, his same insistence
that I rub his ears, his belly, his back.
But no ball proffered for a throw.
No Morrie returning again and again for more.

I am feeling the older for it,
like a mother who sees her last child
off to University or down the aisle, fully grown,
but I am reassured three days later,
when I arise from the hammock
to climb the incline up to the house
and see lodged firmly in the crotch of the plumeria tree
five feet off the ground: Morrie’s ball.

He sees me retrieve it
and runs enthusiastically up to the pool with me,
where I peel off my clothes
and descend like Venus into the pool,
arc my arm over,
and throw the ball.
He is back with it
before I get to the other end of the pool.
If they could see
through the dense foliage
that surrounds the pool,
what would the neighbors think
of this 72-year-old skinny dipping,
lofting a ball over her head
for her little dog
in broad daylight?

Morrie and I don’t care.

Happy Ending

The final NaPoWriMo challenge for 2020 is to write a poem about something that always returns.

 

Morrie

Morrie

He displays such fierce bravado, barking at the man
who dares to try approach me. He’ll bite him if he can.
If he does not get his nuance, perhaps he’ll get his grasping.
If he can’t heed the exposed teeth, perhaps he’ll get their clasping.

If that human could but read the globes of Morrie’s widening eyes,
he’d need no communication in any other guise
from this dog that has decided he is his only rival
for his mistress’s affection. Every time, there’s a revival

of his barking and his lunging should this man dare approach me.
It’s as though he fears he’s coming with intentions to come poach me.
With everybody else, he is a charmer through-and-through.
He cannot wait to make a friend of anyone who’s new.

His emotions are a crazy-quilt of trying hard to please—
of greeting you with ball in mouth and jumping at your knees.
He cannot wait for you to sit to jump up on your lap
and insists on long ear rubbings before he takes a nap.

He’s every visitor’s best friend. Greets strangers on the beach,
and will bring a ball to anyone he finds who’s within reach.
Never will he wear out when chasing after balls.
He goes to bed when I demand and answers all my calls.

But why he feels my gardener of nineteen years duration
is a threat to me, and such a threatening aberration
that he flies to my defense whenever he is near,
is a mystery that I’ve not solved, and never will, I fear.

 

Prompt words today are bravado, globe, quilt, nuance and grasping.

Shelter in Place

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The dVerse Poet’s prompt today is the word “flush.” The poem is to be a quadrille—-exactly 44 words, not counting the title.

Ode to Morrie

Ode to Morrie

Oh you ball of energy, you little ball of fluff.
When it comes to hugging you, I cannot get enough.
Your hair so black and curly, your teeth so sharp and white
that it is an honor when you choose to bite.

Your flair at ball retrieval truly has no equal.
However many thrown for you, you always seek a sequel.
Your eyes luminous marbles, your nails a lovely shape
from running over terraces to stem a squirrel’s escape.

Your hairy little jowls would put Borgnine’s to shame.
So many little mysteries for which you aren’t to blame.
What creature eats the birdseed spread out on the wall?
What other creature has your leap? What other dog the gall?

You give the cats their exercise and what possum would dare
to stray into a garden given to your care?
Oh brave little caroler when interloper passes,
Your mighty barks belie your size. No burglar tests your sasses.

At night you serenade me with your howling croon
accompaniment to ambulances or the rising moon.
My revered alarm clock, my companion after dark,
as now and then throughout the night I celebrate your bark.

Each day I laud thy energy, thy beauty and thy voice.
When I contemplate your dogginess, I cannot but rejoice!
This ode of praise I write for thee, I cannot help but pen it.
If there had been a dog messiah, my dear, you would have been it!


(Click on photos below to enlarge and read captions.)

 

For day 16 of NaPoWriMo we are to write an “Over the Top” poem of excessive praise for something.

Also for: dVerse Poets.

Trouble in Paradise

WANTED!!!

(Click on mug shots to enlarge for better identification.)

Oh man. Brian pooped in the sala and peed in the spare bedroom, in spite of the fact that I took him out twice last night and once this morning. Then Annie cried all morning in spite of the fact I’d given her food, water and head scratches—perhaps because Brian was in my bed with me? Put Brian out, put a cushy bed for him out on the side of the house and opened gate for Morrie to join him in the side and front yard so they could play without Diego’s interference. Morrie immediately went for the cat food in this usual cat’s domain and then for Annie, whom I had forgotten was in the front garden. Chased her behind the big planter, where she was cowering when I came out to put Morrie back in the back yard and to rescue Annie. There are not enough zones in this house! I don’t know that I have a solution to the problem. Brian is crying outside but I won’t have an animal who pees and poops inside!  Help.

1/2 hour later. Good news. Brian has stopped crying.

Dog Language

IMG_5492

Dog Language

It’s true I can decipher after all these years
every little wiggle, each twitching of their ears.
See that head’s uplifting? The garbageman is near.
That ruff of neck spells danger. Tail between legs means fear.

One whine warns of a squirrel invading territory
intended for two dogs alone. Then barks are mandatory!
Sirens were meant for harmony—their plaintive howls a must.
Head bowed down submissively signals respect and trust.

They also know my language. When I move to the door
three rooms away to feed the cats, I hear their hungry roar.
Up against the back door, starving paws commence to scrape.
If I had plans to skip their meal, now there is no escape.

It is their task to let me know when feeding time is close,
and when I move at snail’s pace, they become quite verbose.
The younger dog, much better trained, awaits me in his cage,
surprised at how the older dog dares to jump and rage.

Ordered outside, he edges closer, full of twists and flounces.
The minute that the bowls are lowered, he charges in and pounces.
Then each is most fastidious in licking clean his plate,
fearing that starvation is a likely fate.

They keep a vigilant watch on me, peering through the bars
between the terrace and kitchen, as I open jars.
They hear the fridge door opening, they see each morsel fall.
If they ever get inside, they will devour them all.

And when perchance they sneak inside, against their master’s wishes,
take on the chore of licking clean all the old cat’s dishes.
How else might they show gratitude, with no words to express it?
They simply have to wag their tails and hope that I might guess it!

Prompt words today are fastidious, task, uplifting, decipher and snail.

Overdue

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Overdue

My Auntie tends to use me for
those sorts of tasks she must abhor.
Thus was it yesterday that she
sent me to the library.

Just the name of the last book
she’d borrowed was all I took.
This is the message I relayed:
“This book return will be delayed.

I finished it in record time,
and yes, I found the book sublime,
but then I fear it made a hit
with another who’s not through with it.

He found my Inside Daisy Clover
and found the need to chew it over.
I know that it’s a red hot seller.
All the reviews find it stellar.

I know that countless folks have read it,
the borrower’s sheet in front has said it.
In fact, I find the cover worn,
the binding weak, the pages torn.

And so I’d like to buy a new
copy to return to you.
So, just renew the book once more
’til I can get out to the store.

My family member must finish it,
but I fear he’ll diminish it
until it is unheedable.
Already, it’s barely readable.!

The library was most compliant,
and once again, my aunt reliant
on my finding a new book
to replace the one our puppy took!

 

The poem is fiction, but the photos depict a true story of when Morrie was a new puppy  a couple of years ago.

The prompt words today are book, extra, renew and delayed. Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/rdp-wednesday-book/
FOWC with Fandango — Extra
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/your-daily-word-prompt-renew-april-24-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/delayed/

Wednesday in the Hammock with Morrie

There is a commentary that goes with these photos.  To see it and to enlarge them all, click on the first photo. The arrow on the right of the photo will take you to the next photo.  Have fun! Morrie and I want to share our afternoon with you. He’s narrating.

In Quick Time


The more I slow down, the more rapidly the days seem to slip by. This oxymoron dominates my thoughts in those wee hours when I am trying valiantly to sleep. The awareness of how quickly my life is advancing into its third trimester plugs up my throat until I find it hard to breathe. I fumble for the door key, open the sliding glass doors and slip out onto the patio to gulp the cool night air.

The dogs circle round, Morrie drops hopefully in front of me, a ubiquitous green tennis ball in his jaws. There must be one of those balls hidden behind every plant in my garden.  Just four months ago, I had bought five tubes of them at the sports goods store—each containing three balls. I was about to set out on my yearly  two-month trip to the ocean. I wanted the house sitters to be well-supplied in everything, and the balls were on sale, so I had purchased what I thought would be a lifetime supply. But those balls seem to have vanished as quickly as the two months since my return home had. Two days ago, I had purchased two more tubes of balls. They sit unopened in the doggie supply vault that stores the large bin of dry dog food, a small fridge that holds the wet food I add to the dry food twice daily when I feed them, and other doggy paraphernalia: leashes, collars, medicines, rawhide bones, doggy biscuits.

And so this is a ball he must have rapidly reclaimed from some garden shadow when he heard my key in the lock to the terrace. I bend and reclaim the ball, then throw it over the pool down into the lower garden. Almost as soon as my arm falls to a vertical position, he is back with it again––everything in life seeming to speed up as I slow down.

Now, hours of insomnia and fewer hours of sleep later, I hear him whining on the other side of the security bars outside the open bedroom sliders. He would now have his morning come on more rapidly as I lie, computer on chest, writing my morning blog. I have slowed the world down for long enough. I find an appropriate ending and swing my feet to the floor, in search of Crocs. Time to get in line with the faster world’s schedule, at least for the time it takes to feed the dogs and cats.

 

Click on any photo to enlarge all.

The prompt today is rapid.