Just to Listen


 I was inspired by Fran Haley yesterday to write a mirror section of her poem Listen. I started and ended with three of her words (in italics) and used her repeating word throughout. Thank you, Fran!  

…Just to listen

thud of dogs diving, bed to floor 

collar tags tingling, jingling 

to greet the wee hour 

awakening alarmless


ticking toenails on wood floor,

traipsing to the water bowl 

lapping, drinking beard-dripping droplets 

returning to scratch the sheet by my cheek….take us outside!


clicking of leashes (because…the coyotes)

crunch of frozen ground underfoot, trickling rush of fresh mountain springs 

(not really – it’s Schnoodle pee pelting leaves of grass, but I can dream!)


birds chirping start-of-day songs 

delightful ditties

joy for the soul: Live! Breathe! Sing! 


heat clicking on, hot breath of house whispering warmth, clocking out soon as sun streams in for the day shift


clatter of silverware clinking 

kitchen kisses 

love of my life swirling sugary creamer

to keep all bitterness at bay

silence, golden

dogs bedded back down

snuggled next to me on the sofa

snoozing, snoring securely after snacks 

as I sit and write, thinking

how comforting it is

..just to listen

7 Replies to “Just to Listen”

  1. Kim, I love this for so many reasons, beyond the delight that my lines gave some inspiration. The dogs and the love, their vital part in everyday life (how I love a dog and cannot imagine being without one). So vivid, the thuds and toenails. I live this. I heard and felt the frozen crunch as you described it, and the stream -!! Your sense of humor, priceless. The heat coming on and clocking out; the little sound of silverware clinking representing a world of meaning – that's what I was trying to get at with my poem, all the meaning in just listening. A celebration of being alive. Thank you for this beautiful rendering.


  2. Oh my goodness, I just blasted out a hearty laugh at my stupidity. As I started into your poem, I kept returning to the line about “ticking toenails on the wood floor” and I thought to myself, “damn, if she's writing about herself she needs to clip them things” and then I realized as I read through the poem that you were writing about a dog. This is such a beautiful poem. I'm such an ignoramus.


  3. Pet sounds are the most comforting. I love quieting the house and listening to the sentient beings with whom I share space. Ken has to go for physical therapy three times a week, so I’ve been enjoying the absence of machine sounds. I might need to try a version of a listening poem, but w/a little twist. Your pups are more polite w/ their scratching of sheets. We get a cacophony of barks.


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