Or Death and December

By George Garrett 1929–2008 George Garrett
The Roman Catholic bells of Princeton, New Jersey,
wake me from rousing dreams into a resounding hangover.
Sweet Jesus, my life is hateful to me.
Seven a.m. and time to walk my dog on a leash.

Ice on the sidewalk and in the gutters,
and the wind comes down our one-way street
like a deuce-and-a-half, a six-by, a semi,
huge with a cold load of growls.

There's not only leaf left to bear witness,
with twitch and scuttle, rattle and rasp,
against the blatant roaring of the wrongway wind.
Only my nose running and my face frozen

into a kind of grin which has nothing to do
with the ice and the wind or death and December,
but joy pure and simple when my black and tan puppy,
for the first time ever, lifts his hind leg to pee.

George Garrett, "Or Death and December" from Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments. Copyright © 1998 by George Garrett.  Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.

Source: Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments (Louisiana State University Press, 1998)

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Poet George Garrett 1929–2008

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Pets, Nature, Winter

 George  Garrett


A writer proficient in a variety of genres, mentor and teacher George Garrett was born in Orlando, Florida. He graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and served in the army as a field artillery sergeant in Trieste, Italy. After his service he earned an MA and a PhD, also from Princeton. The author of more than 40 books, he wrote nonfiction, novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and screenplays. His collections of poetry . . .

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Poems by George Garrett

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Pets, Nature, Winter

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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