On the fifth day of April, 2001,
Beneath azure skies, scudding clouds, gleaming sun,
We motored along in a Fiat – teal blue –
In a valley carved out when glaciers moved through.
Hills sloped to heights where snow laden trees
Fringed crystalline lakes still in deep winter freeze.
Italy’s Alps towered mighty and bold –
A fan of pale peaks, 70 million years old,
Born from the sea’s coral reefs once submerged
When the ocean’s floor convulsed and emerged.
Now rain etched fissures slice up through fine mist,
Piercing the sky like unfolded fists.
Ahead on the brow of a lonely hill perched,
From a promising viewpoint – a white-steepled church.
A road wound around to a yard at the top,
And to wide-eyed surprise when we slowed to a stop,
All was not as it seemed when viewed from below,
No longer a place where worshippers go.
The steeple deceived – bells never chime,
Stained glass and white paint now layered with grime.
Chickens and geese pecked and squawked in the dust,
Scrap metal heaped, decaying to rust.
A scruffy dog, flat, sleeping soundly in shade,
Now sprang to his feet, close attention he paid
To the strangers who’d dared come into his yard,
His domain! His people! His duty to guard!
Intense yellow eyes, throat growling most vicious,
Peeled lips, bared fangs, needle-sharp – malicious!
Mighty jaws snapped, aggression expressed,
Our plans to take pictures were soon reassessed.
Back up – turn around – get out of this place!
While bold and determined, Cujo gave chase.
Attacking the tires, he crouched first, then bound,
Strong chomps of his jaws made a rubbery sound.
A short distance later – we’d not traveled far –
Some bumps slowed us down – What was wrong with the car?
The tire was flat, in the sidewall a hole,
From encountering Cujo high on the knoll.
A lesson was learned, surely none can deny,
Always heed the advice to “let sleeping dogs lie.”
February 25, 2008