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Quartet in Moonlight ~ Song of the Steadfast

Glowing Moon,
White as Bone
Sails o’er Waters…
O’er Hills,
time-darkened Stone.

Gnawing the Moon down
to a crescent rind,
Eerie voices rise and whine
along Earth’s shadowed skin.

Each voice is different
yet each voice is akin.

A chorus of uilleann pipes,


clarinet, andshortsharppenny whistleruns along the spinelike an intuitive missile…

One uilleann voice lifts above the chorus,
Complex, full-throated …
Wisdom winding toward us…

“I will Teach you to
Sift the Winds for secrets,
to Trust your senses,
to Go Within on stalker’s feet, and
Hunt down your worst enemy
within the darkness of your Soul!

At every Corner I await you…
Singing of Lessons unending
Noble Death
Balance between Self…
and Duty…

Walk in Beauty!

Follow the trail of the Relentless Hunter,
for no path may be hidden from My hunger!"

A clarinet note dragged out like smoke
smudged across the Sky
as the Stars dance within the Medicine Bowl…

Change unending I sing!
Eternal are Irony
… Unity!
Painful lessons and laughter I bring
to the World’s vast community.

Wise Fool,
I dance to my own heart’s beat.
I’ll hand you Wisdom on one side
…and then fall to my own conceit!
For I am both the Illusion
And the Mirror that cannot lie.
For you, oh my den mate, I sing… and
With you I survive, or die…"

As a sunset, it fades and another voice lifts
like an oboe’s sweet tones,
this Teacher’s voice drifts…

“Protection, Service and Loyalty!
My songs are as varied as my breed.
Beloved by Divine, humble, and royalty…
My great heart and spirit your love will feed,
Yet nothing
twixt Truth and Self
should intercede!”

At last, the whistle-like voice does ascend
while the very dawn approaches and pauses to attend…

“Protect the Child, both within and without,
and I will teach you how best to hide
if you have any doubts!
I run between the rim
of this World and the Others
Perhaps this is why I am hunted…
and perhaps…
I am simply a bit more Fae than my Brothers!
The Fair Folk and I have often traded favors,
and the Shifting of shape.
Oft-times I am little more than
a clever
against a Dreamscape.”

A reedy ululating chorus once more
these Teachers call out and implore…

“All for One and One for All!
Life is the Lesson and
Family is all that holds our freedom in thrall…”

We Sing Now!

“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace.” Milan Kundera

“Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There’s so little hope for advancement.” Snoopy

Dogs are as many and varied as Man, but have been more often glorified in story, literature, poetry, song and film than possibly any other animal…and justly so! Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, J.M. Barrie’s Nana, Mickey’s Pluto, heroic Underdog and his lovely Polly, Toto, Scooby Doo, the much beloved Snoopy, Prince Llwellyn’s faithful Beth Gelert, Dodie Smith’s brave Pongo and Missus, Diane Duane’s superlative Ponch, White Fang, Benji, clever and comical Gromit, Ol’ Yeller, Stanley Ipkiss’ dog Milo from The Mask, Odie, Verdell from As Good As It Gets, Orphan Annie’s Sandy, Naruto’s Akamaru, Astro from the Jetsons cartoon, InuYasha, Lady and Tramp, and even Frank the alien pug in Men in Black give us a broad view of this marvelous Creature Teacher, yet this list could have gone on a lot farther! Some exemplify strengths, others demonstrate canine foolishness, and although each fictional Dog has a character all its own, together one can see the traits that make Dog so beloved by humans. Loyalty, generous hearts, honesty, familial devotion and harmony, friendship, cleverness and keen senses used to achieve goals, bravery, and protection of loved ones, especially children.

“Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted.” Paul Pearshall

“There’s facts about dogs, and then there’s opinions about them. The dogs have the facts, and the humans have the opinions. If you want the facts about the dog, always get them straight from the dog. If you want opinions, get them from humans.” J. Allen Boone, Kinship With All Life

When drawn to Dog, one should examine as many breeds and relations as possible as they are all interconnected. German Shepherds, for example, were bred to help herd sheep and to protect the home and family. Noted for their intelligence, they are frequently trained as Police and Guide dogs. A “working” dog, Shepherds like order, rules, structure, regular physical activity as well as mental stimuli, and as pets have often earned the nickname “fun police” in their endeavors to keep the home environment harmonious. “Rough-housing” and general tickle-fests are usually met with worried barking, and even running in the house can be met with a reprimanding bark or two.

Shepherds often have difficulty with dry skin or skin allergies, as well as the hip dysplasia so common in larger Dogs. So, those drawn to this particular dog may wish to pay a little more attention to their own skin and help themselves to some moisturizer! Shepherds, like many dogs, don’t like to be alone either, being very sociable creatures, and will act out in amazing ways if left alone too often. I’ve heard stories of Shepherds who let their owners know, in no uncertain terms, that they were displeased with them. These stories usually involve a large steaming dump taken on the owner’s pillow, shoes or other prized possession, or the dramatic destruction of things like couches, walls, clothing, etc. Dogs are not known for their subtlety!

Our black shepherds are no where near this discontented, but they are fairly clear in expressing their feelings, good or bad. They work very hard to communicate their needs and desires to us, and forgive us our inability to speak their language daily. We have learned some of their key “words”, just as they have learned some of ours… “breakfast”, “lunch”, “dinner”, “hungry”, “park”, “walk”… you know, all the really important words. I once got up in the middle of a conversation with a friend as we sat eating a snack around the dining room table. I brought back my dog’s food and water bowls, setting them down nearby. He asked why I had done this, and I replied that she wanted them and had felt left out watching us eat. He asked how I knew this, and I said, “She told me with her eyes.” Dodie Smith, author of the original story 101 Dalmations, understood that dogs speak volumes with just their eyes. In this much beloved tale, she mentions that Pongo and Missus often tried to use eye words to communicate with their humans, but the one eye word they always understood was love.

When either of the Alphas in our family come home (myself or my husband), they must put on a playful display after their very vocal and enthusiastic greeting. Once we have settled into a seat, it is imperative that they arrange themselves comfortably around us, near enough to be part of the relaxing “puppy” pile even if we aren’t touching. It is obviously important to each of them to be individual greeted and acknowledged, just as it is important that no one be left out if treats are being handed out. If we take the time to observe and think about what we are seeing, communication with our canine friends quickly becomes second nature.

Very sensitive canines, each one is incredibly adept at knowing when one of the family is in distress of some sort, and they will seek out the person to offer them comfort. Their favorite game is called “Release the Hounds”. In which, one member of the family hides in the woods behind the house and some short time later all three dogs are let loose to find them. Dog people often discover that they too are adept at finding things or sensing the emotions hidden behind the words and actions of the people around us. Dog people often know when those they are closest to are distraught or hurt, no matter the distance, and our instinct is to figure out who and then offer whatever help we can. Like our four footed guides, we can become loud resentful complainers if everyone around us is being given recognition or “treats” and we are being left out.

Terriers were used to hunt rats, rabbits, small game and foxes. Bloodhounds are noted for their keen sense of smell. Irish Wolfhounds, one of my particular favorites, were bred to take down wolves and large game. Chow Chows once guarded temples, Malamutes pull sleds, and Poodles seem like the dress-up dog of the modern world. Is your breed known as “high-strung” or “aggressive”? Then you should watch those qualities in yourself. Looking at a specific breed can certainly give you clues to how you personally connect to this Creature Teacher. Dogs as whole should be also be examined though, which leads inextricably back to their wild cousins. Canines run in packs, after all, and family should never be discounted.

“A Pekingese is not a pet dog; he is an undersized lion.” A A Milne

“Things that upset a terrier may pass virtually unnoticed by a Great Dane.” Smiley Blanton

“Our dogs will love and admire the meanest of us, and feed
our colossal vanity with their uncritical homage.” Agnes Repplier

“From the dog’s point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog.” Mabel Louise Robinson

To me, Dog usually means “mixed breed”, or put more simply, a healthy mutt who combines qualities and lessons from all of the Canines; a meeting between the wilder ways of Wolf, Coyote, and Fox and “domesticated” life in all of its doggy variety. All Dogs, for example, are pretty clear about what they do and do not like. Basically honest creatures, Dogs will growl at and follow suspiciously anyone they do not like or trust, hide when they are scared, leap for joy at the sight of their leash in their humans hand, turn up their noses at food they don’t like with utter disdain, and eagerly await a treat with obvious, oft times drooling or prancing, anticipation. Generally, you know where you stand with a Dog right up front. Dogs also prefer to convey and respond to such social stimuli without a major fuss; to establish pack order with as little actually fighting as possible.

As all Dog people know, no dog anywhere ever gets enough food or attention. They will even ignore their favorite human for a tasty treat off someone elses plate. As a rule, they would rather ask for forgiveness than permission too. “Maybe this time it will be OK if I just eat those scraps out of the garbage.” This seems to be a common thought to most of our canine buddies, often followed closely by, “But I’m Sorry…and I’m cute!” Dogs appreciate the good things in life. Family, cuddles, food, work, sex, sleep, play, even just an interesting scent… Dogs tend to throw themselves into whatever they are doing whole-heartedly, with complete abandon and unashamed enjoyment.

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion” Unknown

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.” Roger Caras

“A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.” Author Unknown

Loyalty is a vital issue for Dogs, and shouldn’t be given blindly. Don’t give your trust or loyalty where it hasn’t been earned. This means actually earned, not just given because you love or enjoy someones company, and are willing to “overlook” some poor choices or bad behavior. Dogs are very Devoted creatures. Much to the shame of mankind, our canine companions have been known to overlook terrible abuse for just the hope of a kind word, a scrap of food, or a single moment of affection from the people in their lives. Love is indeed a powerful and divine gift in life, but even something good can become bad when we allow it to go to extremes.

Love can be freely given without suffering from abuse though. Someone once said, “Flattery looks like friendship, just like a wolf looks like a dog”. Try following the rule of three, three strikes and they’re out! However, just because someone was, for lack of a better term, unworthy of your love or loyalty, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wish them well and continue to feel that swell of love and concern that should, rightly, be extended to everyone and everything we encounter. Why miss another opportunity to spread something as wonderful, rare and uplifting as Love, even if you don’t interact with them any more?

Awareness, Love, Forgiveness, and Loyalty, like most things in Life, should start with the Self though. If you cannot give yourself the same consideration that you would extend to someone else, then something is seriously out of balance. “To thine own self be true.”, or put more accurately by the wise and witty Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do what you know in your heart to be right, for you will be criticized anyway.” could easily be Dog mottoes. In essence, we should not allow the poor choices of others to lead us away from what we know in the core of our being is the better path.

Dogs tend to be curious and stubborn creatures too, even when they meet with less than enthusiasm to their boldly inquiring ways. How many have gotten their nose scratched because they couldn’t keep it out of the cat’s face, nipped because they just had to keep sniffing the new dog, or full of quills because they just had to know who was living down that hole? Persistence is a great quality, it will see you through a lot in life, but try to resist that rigid Stubborn streak that will have you following paths you started down…simply because you started down them.

Dogs like to a. form packs and b. rescue others. These aren’t bad things, but we need to be Aware of whom we are inviting into such an intimate and binding arrangement as “our pack”. Just as we need to understand that no matter who someone is to you, no matter what trials they are facing in life and no matter how much you want to reach out and help…you cannot help someone who doesn’t believe that they need help, or does not want to help themselves. Dog people are often driven by the desire to help others, to feel Needed. There is nothing wrong with offering a friendly paw up to someone in need, but Dog people need to be aware of the help they are offering and make well-considered choices over whom to help, when and with what.

Jealousy over people or things, unnecessary worrying, being too territorial, hoarding, nervous eating, yelling before you know what you are reacting to, or otherwise allowing Instinct to override Reason are also important issues for Dog people. Calling someone a “Dog” in our society is often a reference to their over-active and rather indiscriminate sex life, yet another example of being led by instinct and basic drives. It is extremely important that we be aware and set reasonable boundaries for ourselves. Like Dog, such people have great heart, great spirit, and it takes a lot to break a Dog…but we should do all that we can not to set ourselves up for a fall. Dogs are often victims of their own folly, and subject to hubris. Consider the Danish proverb, “An honest man is not the worse because a dog barks at him.”

On the flip side, Dog senses are incredibly keen and it is just as vital for Dog people to listen to their hunches. If a situation doesn’t “feel” right, or you “smell something fishy” that you can’t quite put a finger on… don’t second guess yourself. Your instincts and heightened perceptions will often set off alarms within you long before your brain has the evidence it needs to process a given situation.

Faithful service, loving devotion, the small becoming great, Instinct and Reason in harmony, noble heart, great spirit… Dog embodies all of these things. Whether human or canine, Alphas exemplify all that is best in the breed. Well-balanced Dogs inspire us to better ourselves, be loving and generous with our fellows, work diligently for the good of all, and to become that which inspires us, to be a leader and set a good example for your pack, the World. Is it any wonder that so many people are enamored of this marvelous and generous Creature Teacher? How does Dog appear in your life?

“I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better. They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying.” George Bird Evans

“He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags.

Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me… whenever… wherever – in case I need him. And I expect I will – as I always have. He is just my dog." Gene Hill

Potential Balancing Energies for dogs in general: Wolf, Coyote, Dingo, Hyena, Fox and other Dogs, Cat, birds like Crow, Duck, or Hawk, Snake, Rabbit, Deer, Horse, Cattle, Sheep, Insects like Fly, Tick, Flea, trees like Dogwood, rodents like Rat, Dog Rose, Sirius

Associated Deities, Mythic and Popular figures: Brighid, Hecate, Hades, Cerebus, Anubis, Wepwawet, Set, Osiris, Xolotl, Mars, Kukkuripa, Kukuraja, Bau, Inanna, Leto, Artemis, Apollo, Zeus, Romulus, Remus, Odin, Fenrir, Indra, Cuchulainn

Key Concepts: Loyalty, Devotion, Protection, Companionship, Nobility/Royalty, Faithfulness, Spiritual/Divine gaurdianship, Service, Selflessness, finding the hidden, sensing the unseen, and healing

Quartet in Moonlight ~ Song of the Steadfast

Quinn Blackburn

Bethel Park, United States

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 7

Artist's Description

Each Who Sings Now? poem is inspired by a Nature Teacher; plant, animal, stone, star, etc. Many people enjoy trying to guess who is singing before reading on. This particular poem highlights four closely related Teachers who were insistent on singing together. Part Two, posted here, relates to this section of the poem…

As a sunset, it fades and another voice lifts
like an oboe’s sweet tones,
this Teacher’s voice drifts…

“Protection, Service and Loyalty!
My songs are as varied as my breed.
Beloved by Divine, humble, and royalty…
My great heart and spirit your love will feed,
Yet nothing
twixt Truth and Self
should intercede!”

Artwork Comments

  • lianne
  • Quinn Blackburn
  • Medusa
  • Quinn Blackburn
  • Medusa
  • eoconnor
  • Quinn Blackburn
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