Your Licorice Nose

Something about that nose,
round as a licorice gumdrop
and massively inquiring.

It brings the world to him,
the lowdown on facts
denied to us.

He knows the rabbit
has been in the garden and where
the interloper has traveled.

He knows who has wandered
through the neighborhood and
can sniff out the bad guys.

He would like to get a whiff of you.
He has an inside track and will know
more about you than you can imagine.

But for now, he has other concerns.
The cat got into my pen and is making me
nervous, so let me out now please.

~Lois Edstrom “Homer” from Almanac of Quiet Days

As young as I look,
I am growing older faster than he,
seven to one
is the ratio they tend to say.
Whatever the number,
I will pass him one day
and take the lead
the way I do on our walks in the woods.
And if this ever manages
to cross his mind,
it would be the sweetest
shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass
~Billy Collins “A Dog on his Master”

Oh, Homer, dog of my heart, when I open the gate to your pen to set you free for farm chores, you race after your corgi buddy Sam who must get to the cat food bowl before you, but then you stop mid-run, each time, and circle back to me to say hello, thank you, jumping high enough to put that licorice gumdrop nose in my glove as a greeting, so I can stroke your furry brow without bending down. You jump one, two, three times – for those three pats on the head (I think you can count) – and then you are off again running, having greeted your human with respect and affection.

You watch me do chores with your nose in the straw, checking out the smells of the day – I work at the cleaning and feeding the ponies as the barn cat embarrasses you with her attention. You wait patiently, connecting your brown eyes to my gray eyes when you want my attention. You are listening carefully for those words that mean you can race back to your pen for breakfast – “All done!”

We speak the same language, you and I. Your eyes and your nose tell me all I need to know about what you are thinking.

And I have no doubt whatsoever you read my thoughts completely.

More poems and photos in this book, available to order here:

6 thoughts on “Your Licorice Nose

  1. I remember Homer’s first pics here on your post, dear Emily. I wanted to fly out and cuddle him and plant a kiss on that ”licorice nose.’ He’s probably well past his teens already and has taken his place alongside faithful Sam who has given his new buddy wise, experienced tutelage. What a loveable pair they are — a testament to their esteemed ‘regal’ breed.

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  2. Your reflections about “Your Licorice Nose” took me back to our farm.
    Oh, the conversations we had – not with Homer – but with King.
    And the barn cats – so much conversation about and with them those last years on the farm.
    Continue to savor the present, Emily. You are blessed!
    Linda

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  3. Those licorice noses are so dear. We have two “farm hands” here who make the chores each morning and evening rituals of joy. Whatever might be burdening my heart or mind is quickly dispelled by the sheer enthusiasm for life that these animals have. Thanks for sharing your Homer with us.

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