A weeping willow standing alone in a barren field.

Poem | Somerlayton

Last Updated: April 9, 2023By Tags: ,

When I wrote this poem, I thought of my childhood and a place on Earth that reminds me of happy days. I thought of my grandmother’s home in the midwest, where I spent much of my time as an adolescent and teen in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Just down the road, a large weeping willow tree sits on the edge of my aunt’s property, towering over a barren field that hasn’t seen a good harvest in decades. I often feel just like the weeping willow… meant to brave the worst, standing tall and strong against any storm. No matter what.

I’ve learned that grief takes every morsel of strength you believed you may have had and transforms it into a weakness. It shreds your boundaries and brings you to your knees, binding you to the ground as you shatter into the millions of shards that once made up the fabric of who you are. Grief knows no limits, and death knows no love for life.

It has been one year without my beloved dog, Allie May. She passed away on December 30, 2021 of renal failure in her left kidney due to TCC bladder cancer. It’s hard to believe how much time has already without her… and the fear of the future days, months, years, and decades without her is unfathomable.

I dedicate “Somerlayton” to her.

A weeping willow sheltered in the gales of November;
Alone in a field, she braces her trunk for each impact;
Shifting with the growing tensions of the relentless winds;
Her branches bend and creak, stretch and sway;
Ever moving with the unpredictable breeze;
Ever changing with the wisps of air from lands far away.
She wants. She listens. She prays.

A whimsical song from the beak of an Eastern whip-poor-will;
Alerting their flock to the oncoming blizzard;
Studded with a thousand whips, she yields to no living soul;
Holding steadfast against tide and grain.

In the face of the tempest’s might, she stands tall and proud;
A symbol of resilience, she endures and shines like a beacon in the night;
Her melodies carried on the winds, a haunting refrain;
A message to all who hear, to hold on through the torrential rain.

She is the voice of the storm, a harbinger of change;
With every flicker of light, a reminder of hope and strength to sustain;
In the quiet of the night, her song echoes across deserted plains;
A reminder that even in the midst of chaos, beauty can behold strength.

For nearly 30% of my adult life, until her passing, she was my canine child and companion. I raised her since she was a puppy. I nurtured her, gave her love, spent time with her, went on adventures with her, experienced new foods and places with her… and while she isn’t able to speak human languages, she was able to communicate with her actions and rambunctious bark.

Is it so hard to believe that a human can have children that are not born to them, and are not the same species? Are we so incapable of loving or caring for non-humans? To me, Allie was more than just a “pet”. She was my daughter… and I was her mother.

At this time in my life, I have no human children, but someday, I may. On the day she passed away, I wished for the universe to grant her life once more in the form of my first human daughter.

Someday, if the stars align, my wish may be granted.

About the Author: Ammie-Marie Littke

Minimalist. Adventure seeker. Prefer experiences over things. Scientifically curious. Technological enthusiast. Independent voter. Songwriter. Avid music fan (80's music trivia whiz). Active concert goer. Michigan Wolverines fan. Beach snob. Borderline fashionista, but also in love with flare jeans.

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