The following poem is in honor of Hank, the Rev. LouAnn and her wonderful husband Jim Pickering’s new puppy, a gorgeous black standard poodle, and his older brothers who are or were gorgeous and white.
All of them are or have been LouAnn’s pastoral assistants. I like to say they are the curates of her church of St. Gabriel the Archangel, because as therapy dogs whatever might be painful or lonesome in a person’s soul, the pups, at least for their visits, can cure it.
Black and White Ball
Give your dogs a black and white ball and tell them,
just to say it out loud, what it means.
Black is the color of mysterious things,
of the powerful regeneration and renewal
of Night in which Stars are born,
the universe delivering Beauty.
On Earth’s palette of color, black is all
the colors there are, blended variously
to the depth of Absolute Beauty.
White is all the colors of the light spectrum
unbroken, undefined, at the ready for jumping into rainbows.
White is for playing in snow,
black is for the big band music of the spheres,
where certain sounds can be heard only by dogs.
In the generous lap of black, all the day-hidden musicians
become visible to humans and dogs alike in the showing of night.
Black and white are the complete heartbeat, the full breath
that makes exploration, friendship and joy possible.
Black and white do not oppose.
They hold Everything within and between them.
God plays with all Her children, rolling her black and white ball
of creation toward new surprises all the time.
If all the colors went out of something, God could still create
a beautiful, clear, precise black and white sketch of its shape
and essence, enough to evoke feeling meaning
from shadows and light.
A black and white ball is a sphere for movement and play, and also a dance,
formal and full of Grace befitting the dignity of all beings—beings and Being.
Black and white. Together, they contain all the colors. They are the whole world.
Alla Renée Bozarth
Alla Renée Bozarth is A Russian, Celtic, Osage American mongrel poet, Episcopal priest, Northwestern University Ph.D. in performing arts and Gestalt psychotherapist soul caregiver who lives at the foot of Mt. Hood in Western Oregon. She has published 20 prose and poetry books on feminism, spirituality, grief, hermeneutics of performance and most recently the Vietnam War— and 4 audio albums, with 14 more large poetry collections and 2 CDs ready for publication. Alla has written award winning poetry for over 40 years. Her poems are widely used all over the world, often in collaboration with visual artists, singers and dancers. For permission to reprint a poem, please send Alla your request at firstname.lastname@example.org