The tired head sinks, nodding, to the ground, The light in once-bright eyes goes out, and then Sibirskiy Haski naps a little while, To wake anon in gently falling snow. There comes a sound, with shadows stirring deep Within the frozen fog- the ears prick up, And Sleepy One shakes off the powder from A coat more fine than soft Merino wool To see what beckons in the winter cold. A team approaches! Swift as Boreas, The Northern Wind, it flies with clouds of flakes Like sparkling stars erupting in its wake, By inner fire illumined, cutting through The arctic twilight, cheerful as the dawn. Now leaps the heart inside that furry breast, With happy yowls emerging! Instantly The snow-dog springs to meet this welcome sight, And suddenly the sled arrives, to halt Between the earth and heaven. All is still And quiet as the Driver paces nigh, He seems an old, no, ancient Chukchi, face Of leather, furrowed deeply, yet serene And like the fox-fire, glowing. Hear Him speak- "Come here, my little one, now come, I know The way's been long and hard". A weathered hand Extends, alighting on that fluffy neck Like morning dew, to whines of faithful joy- The gnarléd fingers tease the silken mane While words of comfort flow like water from A crystal spring. "Shh, shh, do not look back, My pet" He says, "I know, you miss them all. But bonds of love cannot be broken- you Shall meet them all again, for all paths lead To Me. And now, my cherished one, see here! An empty place that must be filled, behind Grandfather Wolf in "lead"- for you I have This golden harness, take you now the "swing" And draw us home to My yaranga, where The fish and game are plenty, nothing else To do but play in beams of midnight sun. For there the lands are boundless, also skies, Where time can never pass- for there all hurt And sadness, want and sickness, loneliness And desolation, never may be found". Without delay the chosen bows and slips Into the traces. Round about, the new Team-mates in recognition prance and nip As Huskies will. The Driver broadly grins, And with un-earthly grace attending, steps To mount the sled and set in motion all. - As Canis Major rises up, I see Familiar snowshoe paws now running free- Like distant thunder I can hear them sound As rhythmically they strike the frozen ground. And I rejoice again that rippling, full- Envigored loins fatigue-less stretch and pull, With new, fresh breath the flaring nostrils steam, And eyes restored to jewel's luster gleam. Now, chase the pole star! Go, my loyal friend! Remember me upon your journey's end, Commend me to our Master. Make your way By northern lights, into the breaking day- I'll follow soon, in God's good time, though when, Or how, I can't be certain- but 'til then Through tears, these parting words I give to thee, Farewell, and "MUSH!" into eternity.
©MMXIII J.R. Murdock