• Best of the Net 2023 Nominations

    Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is delighted to announce the following poems have been nominated for inclusion in 2024’s Best of the Net anthology: Flight Path by Laura RodleyThe Sonnet by Ed HackRailway Station, Bendery, Moldova by Tovli SimiryanBaptism by Greg WatsonMaking Up by Larina WarnockAll the best stories are true by Julia Klatt Singer —read more—

Animal Grace by Gloria Heffernan

Animal Grace

I have tried all the prayers my mother taught me
kneeling by the bedside when I was five.
They’re all good, but they’ve never felt like me.

I have tried Namaste and Shalom and Amen
because I know words matter and I want to choose
wisely from the lexicon of peace.

But it wasn’t until I saw the three-legged pit-bull
bounding across the playground
that a prayer rose to my lips that finally said,

Oh yes, this is my psalm. This is the hymn
I will carry in my heart until the day I die.
This is the sacred goal I must aim for.

And so, I begin the day with these words.
Dear Lord, let me greet every person
who crosses my path as if they were a dog.

Let my face light up with joy and curiosity.
Let my hand reach out with tenderness and care.
Let me see and celebrate their eagerness to love.

Let me offer up bowls of food and soft blankets.
Let me pause and gaze into their deep warm eyes.
Let me trust their capacity for goodness.

When I find a person who has been mistreated,
who growls like a hungry cur in a dark alley,
let me approach cautiously, but approach, nonetheless.

When I see one who is hungry
and trembling in a doorway, let me share
with them whatever is mine to give.

Let me love first and ask questions later.
Let me see in their eyes the answer
to the only question that matters.

No matter the pedigree, no matter the mix,
Let me see a creature whose only job
is to be loved.

​by Gloria Heffernan

Editor’s Note: Anyone who has ever loved a dog (or other fur baby) will immediately recognize the truth in this beautiful ode to kindness.


12 responses to “Animal Grace by Gloria Heffernan”

  1. Dana Kinsey Avatar

    As someone who has been struggling with my faith, this poem resonates in a way nothing else has. I will be holding it close, sharing it frequently, teaching it often. Thank you!

  2. addacat Avatar

    I love this!

  3. Joan Kantor Avatar

    So beautiful and beautifully written. This poem’s
    ode to kindness touched me deeply. I will see the day differently. This is the power of poetry..

  4. Sarah Henry Avatar
    Sarah Henry

    I love the three-leggged pit bull. He reminds me of my first dog when her broken leg was in a cast. My heart goes out to animals who need help. This is a warm poem.
    Cats and dogs are all nice.

    1. Gloria Heffernan Avatar

      Thank you!

  5. Ralph Stevens Avatar
    Ralph Stevens

    Gloria, I share the love of dogs and your reasons for that love ring true. And those reasons are a justification for greeting everyone as if they were a dog. Well said!

    1. Gloria Heffernan Avatar

      Hi Ralph,
      Thanks so much for your kind words!

  6. richardsund Avatar

    This is a touching and also an excellent poem that should be included in Anthologies. Beautiful.

    1. Gloria Heffernan Avatar
      Gloria Heffernan

      Thanks so much Richard!

  7. richardsund Avatar

    This is a gorgeously beautiful poem, and it asks us to please remember that kindnes is the difference between humanity and devils !!

  8. richardsund Avatar

    Kindness – a typo above.

  9. richardsund Avatar

    A truly beautiful poem, and a poem for decades to come. Amazingly true.

Leave a Reply




©2006—2023 Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY — Privacy Policy

%d bloggers like this: