After a week or two of sweltering heat, we look forward to the mid-summer rains that thunder down so hard and heavy that the parched ground can’t begin to soak it all up.  The runoff swells the placid creek, which rushes and foams through the narrows, then relaxes into a wide pool near the footbridge.  Our black Lab used to jump headlong into this opportunity every time it presented itself.  Just something in his DNA, I guess.  I would look on, petrified, as he fought to stay upright and keep his nose above water, and wonder if his heart was pounding
as hard as mine.  At the end of the ride, he would emerge on wobbly legs with this LOOK on his face… a look I could not fully identify with until I finished my first public poetry reading; as I headed back to my seat, the expression on my face felt strikingly similar.  This poem is a monotetra, by the way, a form I featured in a prior post on donuts.


As buckets tumble from the sky
and supersaturate July
the lazy creek runs fast and high,
a water slide, a water slide

Our Labrador cannot resist
a thrill so serendipitous
One daring leap and he’s adrift
the current swift, the current swift

Pumped with pure adrenaline
he rolls and bobbles as it wends
hanging tight ’round curves and bends
until it ends, until it ends

Then up the muddy bank he climbs
all lolly-tongued and starry-eyed
Delight and terror, when combined
can be sublime, can be sublime

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17 thoughts on “HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF?

    • Just Joan July 16, 2017 / 11:42 am

      Thanks, Marissa! Earnie was a water dog, nothing kept him out of that creek on waterslide days, and his expression afterward was somewhere between beaming and shell-shocked. 🙂


  1. chevvy8 July 16, 2017 / 2:37 am

    What a lovely rhythm this poem has through your effective repetition and rhyme. I felt the rush and the sensations of that water sliding and its analogy with doing something daring that sends you on an adrenalin high. Well done Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 16, 2017 / 11:50 am

      Thanks, Chevvy. Monotetras are fun and with this one, the repetitions just seemed to hit in all the right places. Earnie loved water and swimming, and his fear never stopped him from jumping into adventures like this one. He swam proudly in the Atlantic Ocean just 3 months before he died, at the age of 15; I’m sure he thought the doggie life jacket I made him wear was overkill. I devoted an entire post to him, on the second anniversary of his death:

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu July 16, 2017 / 10:41 am

    Now I want to jump into a cool creek. I find this a refreshing poem for a hot summer day in our desert.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 16, 2017 / 11:52 am

      Thanks, Tippy. Skinny dipping, no doubt. Do they have cool creeks in the desert? I always thought those were just mirages! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu July 16, 2017 / 12:03 pm

        Most of them ARE mirages. The real ones are few and far between. The biggest real creek is the Colorado River, but I don’t live anywhere close to that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. K E Garland July 19, 2017 / 9:44 am

    Love this one. I’ve always wondered if dogs are natural swimmers. I see quite a few at the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. L. T. Garvin, Author July 19, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    I really like this Monotetra, Joan. Sounds like music, but then that’s what well-done poetry sounds like. I could really visualize your black Lab playing in this run-off river. I laughed at the comparison with your poetry reading. 😀 Truly the entire piece is sublime, but I truly enjoyed “lolly-tongued and starry-eyed.” Great poem, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 20, 2017 / 5:14 pm

      Thanks, Lana, appreciate your feedback! The story seemed to call for a monotetra; I find that poems often suggest a particular form. The creek is shallow and muddy in summer, not more than a few inches deep. Only a sustained, heavy rain can fill it up and get it moving. Earnie was a water dog to his core and never thought twice about jumping in. I think it was Bill Cosby that said “you’ve got to want it more than you’re afraid of it.” Lolly-tongued and starry-eyed was my favorite line as well, the way he always looked after surviving these wild rides. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author July 20, 2017 / 5:48 pm

        A lot of love in that description, Joan. I’ve had a Lab before…best dog ever, I’ll never forget him. Dogs are gifts from above. I truly loved your poem. Happy weekend to you 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. circumstance227 August 4, 2017 / 11:58 pm

    Everyone is commenting on your dog here- what I would like to hear about is the poetry reading! When , where? details please!

    (And your dog is lovely too. I love dogs.)

    Liked by 1 person

      • circumstance227 August 13, 2017 / 4:02 pm

        I loved your long email – thanks for that! I also totally remembered the poem you included because I read that post you linked to. It is a classic in the Vegetable Erotica genre!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan August 13, 2017 / 7:29 pm

        Reminds me of a scene in Ratatouille where the dishwasher-turned-cook is in the cooler talking to the rat when the chef walks in. He says he is “familiarizing himself with the vegetables” and the chef says, “One can be too familiar with vegetables, you know!” Indeed. 🙂


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