Bouli

When on our midnight walk
Along a path overlooking
The Valley of the Cross
My granddaughter Bouli
Suddenly sits
And with ears flattened
White fur ruffled
Visage mournful
Silently stares
Across the hushed highway
At the ancient monastery,
Because she’s such a kind
Angelic soul
My imagination starts to soar.

Was she perhaps in a previous life
One of the women
Who wept at the foot
Of the Cross,
Believed by Helena
Mother of Constantine
To have come from a tree
In this very wadi?

Or likewise in a former
Incarnation as a beautiful
Passionate maiden
Was she forsaken
By her handsome sweetheart
Who, possessed by the Holy Spirit,
Became a celibate monk?

Then again,
Might she have been
The faithful pet
Of Shota Roust’haveli –
The iconic Georgian bard
Buried in the heart
Of this place of pilgrimage?
Like people, dogs will grieve
At their beloved’s grave
And even pine away.

Or, to return to the present,
Is our empathic Bouli –
Who’s apparently at peace
With her own celibate,
Spayed state –
Simply expressing compassion
For the secluded dog
I once heard howling
Through an open window
Of this stone fortress
In the Valley of the Cross?

 

Jerusalem
11 December 2017