My Punkin!

We give Brookie her own pumpkin every year for Halloween, then have to take it away because she’ll chew it up. She gets treats, which she says is not as good. This one was in 2013.

how much I feel all this joy

Tonight we have a guest poet on Metaphor. It’s our dog, Brookie. I asked her to share a poem in honor or her one year anniversary with our family. She was adopted July 23, 2012. She’ll be two years old in October.

2013-07-19 17.29.58-1

Joyful Noise

I bark because of the birds
in the grass and above on the wires
and how they dance away
or fly and disappear
when I want to be close

I bark because of the people
and the dogs I can smell
going by on the street
and how they keep moving past
always do not stop and play

So I bark being so often
acquainted with disappointment
but also because of the sunshine
and my good food and my toys
and how much I feel all this joy

by Brookie

Brookie composes with a #2 pencil on a yellow legal pad. She blogs at
and she’s on Tumblr at

I’ve suggested she cut the cord with Blogger and go with Tumblr full time. It’s really more her style. I guess she’s thinking about it.

The names of her blog and tumblr site were inspired by the title of a book, Nop’s Trials by Donald McCaig, and by the lyrics of the old hymn What A Friend We Have in Jesus. The term trials, in dog circles, refers to competitions for herding dogs, obedience competitions, and similar events. Obviously, it’s a metaphor.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Creative Commons License
Joyful Noise by Kyle Kimberlin is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

On A Hill

Today was Easter and I hope it was happy for you. I had a good day. But on April 8 each year, our family remembers the passing of our beloved dog Stella.* It’s been 12 years, which is difficult to believe. Time has flown.

Here’s a flash fiction piece. It’s not about Stella, but about the furtive and fragmentary nature of memory. And there is a dog in it.

If you want to, you can listen to an audio reading of the piece.

On A Hill

There is no wind today, to stir the foxtails and fennel on the hill. There is just a muted fog, following a night of fog through a week of fog and rain. And a man standing on the hill, looking for the sunlight he believes is up there somewhere.

He loves the hill. When the wind is up, you might see three hawks, or five red-tailed hawks at once, standing in the sky as if hung on wires. Then one by one, they break and fall on field mice in the oat grass field below. The first time she let him hold her, they were here. And there where the trail goes through a stand of eucalyptus, their first kiss. They sat on a fallen log – close together – as the sun went down, and a great owl floated over, down the arroyo and away.

Or maybe it was not a woman but a dog. He grows confused. But yes, a young dog. They walked on this hill as the sun went down, into the ocean there, past that point of land. And the sun set with a lip of rose and a tongue of burnt orange.

He went with the dog another day – the sun high and bright – to where the trail falls between crags of volcanic rock to the pitch-soiled beach. The tide was out and the dog ran between the piles of drying kelp and back and forth to the ebbing foam, chasing a yellow ball he threw. No hawks then, but pelicans in their morning dives for food, lifting again heavy with fish.

Damn the fog. He can hear the oil crew boat come about and back through the swells to tie up at the pier. But he cannot see the belch of gray-black diesel exhaust from the stern, the men on deck pitching lines and tying up, and the scattering gulls.

That bright, clear day when the dog ran here, the boats came in just so, engines revving to control the approach. The dog lay down in the damp sand, afraid, ears flat against her head. He went and held her in his arms as blue herons floated over, wings still and silent, caught by light.

It’s hard to be of comfort in the face of dread, of nightfall, and looming grief. That summer he was young, and the woman was young. They left the hill and walked through the stand of trees in the falling dark, to the thicket of bamboo by the railroad. The world was dark and loud, with the tracks close by and a freight train passing, eighty cars or more.

He held her and worried how it all might end, as the world roared by too close. He counted the gaps between the boxcars defined by moonlight, by final twilight maybe. The number grew impossible until the last one passed, dragging the clatter and roar of it away beyond the hill.

Now he is alone in all this diffused, ambiguous light, with a dog’s collar in his pocket for comfort or for luck. And the sun – he thinks possibly – finally burning through.

Download On A Hill in PDF.

Creative Commons License
On A Hill by Kyle Kimberlin
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution
-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Dog’s Birthday

Those who have been reading Metaphor quite a while know that I used to have a little dog named Tasha. When she came to live with me, her former owners said she was about 14 months old. It was October,1991. So not knowing her exact birthday, I decided we would celebrate it on the first Saturday in August every year.

That idea found it’s way into the poem below. You can tell it was written a while back, because of the references to then-current events.

You can see a video of Tasha eating a cookie on her last birthday, August 2005, by clicking here. There’s a bunch of photos of her and a tribute too.

Today is the first Saturday in August.

Happy birthday, old friend, wherever in the Heaven of Dogs you are playing today. I still miss you, always will. Remember to show up at the bridge on time, OK?



Stand facing the ocean
with your back to the railroad tracks.
Stand there even if a train goes by,
a long, thundering freight.  Stand
even when the sun is rising or setting.
Stand facing the ocean in the rain.

If the air is still in your shaded patio
play the windchimes by hand.
Cast a big reflection
of your joy across the yard.
Stop to watch a lizard sleeping
on a stone.  It’s bad to awaken
reptiles, who dart into the jasmine
with their tails flickering.

Pray for peace in eastern Europe
for sobriety and a cure for AIDS.
Slow down passing graveyards,
hospitals, nursing homes.
Cross yourself or bow your head.  Do this
also passing the tavern and the jail.
If tears come, believe in them. 

Choose a Saturday, declare it Dog’s Birthday.
Buy squeaky toys, chewy things, party hats
and candles.  Put off washing the car.
Take the dog out and stand facing
the ocean, with your back to America
and your face in the stormlight,
in the awesome churning of solitude,
until it’s time to turn again for home.



Creative Commons License
Stormlight by J. Kyle Kimberlin is licensed
under a
Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License
Feel free to copy and share!

Let’s Play!

I’m trying to work up something like a post for the blog. I seem to have a case of Blogger’s Clog, which is similar to writer’s block. In the mean time, here’s a funny little video of a cute dog trying to get a guy to throw a stick for him to fetch.