Sisters & Courtesans – the One with the Dog


Today the last two of the Sisters & Courtesans sonnets that were accepted for publication before the manuscript found its home with White Violet Press appear in Mezzo Cammin.

“My Life as Ghengis Khan’s Morganatic Wife” is a fine sonnet, but this blog entry is about “My Life as an Anglo-Saxon Novitiate,” which has a special place in my affections, especially given the death of my beloved Golden Retriever, Tasha, last week.

Some readers may know that the first draft of Sisters & Courtesans was prepared during a frenzied two week residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, but fewer will be aware that my time there was almost curtailed because Tasha fell sick. My poor husband and daughters were at their wits’ end trying to deal with their own schedules and the needs and messes of our venerable ‘Queen of Parry Drive.’ Anguished phone calls went back and forth between New Jersey and Virginia, and I offered several times to return.

My husband, who knows how precious my writing time is, stoically said he would continue to deal with it. He took Tasha to the vet and after a battery of tests they diagnosed an ordinary stomach virus, gave her some meds, and she came home back to normal. This was one of several ‘nine’ lives she used up during her almost seventeen year lifespan!

Anyway, dog poems are hard. But while my family was going through this, and I was apart from them, I wanted to write a poem that commemorated Tasha’s specialness. After some thought (and a little research on the practicality of a nun owning a dog) I wrote “My Life as an Anglo-Saxon Novitiate.” Hilda, the dog in the poem “has bright eyes/ that take in everything. I swear she’s deeper/ than most people I meet,” and that’s exactly how Tasha was.

Read the Sisters & Courtesans Self-Interview.


  1. Pat Hardigree

    Yes. Dogs are like people except they bark more, are always glad to see you, and never tire of giving up their affection.

  2. Anna_Evans

    I decided this post needed a photo of my wonderful Tasha in her prime. Thanks, Pat! I still have Sammy, thank goodness!

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