we talked of him around the fire that night, anecdotes held long in memory
grey hound howling from the flames rising, he belongs to memory
laughed aloud in the telling, laughed till tears ran through the years
huge the animal he was, the phantom ridgeback strong in our memory
we loved across the divide, profound devotion unquestioning
forgiving as no other, reliance each on each, lifelong the memory
wild veld expansive in his eyes, knowing and alert at a shadow’s flicker
the pools deep, lugubrious his mien and headstrong in memory
lineage out of Zimbabwe, did he sense my footprint was there
on the dusty tracks of sepia distance thronged with memory
round cones of huts, close pockets of enough on the red map
existence sun-sketched against infinite sky along with memory
the scent of my DNA in his blood bound to the large print of his life
traced before the hearth that night in prolonged echoes of memory
Herschell Rhodes of Zimbabwe, his ashes are heavy in the Rimu heart
his image etched across time, our dual worlds a song in his memory


Suzanne Herschell is well known as an artist with numerous exhibitions and awards in New Zealand and internationally. She says, “I have taken to submitting poems to various forums to feel the joy of acceptance of work created in such solo circumstances that then gets a public airing, rather like painting.” She occasionally includes her poems in paintings and has poems published in collections and online: Meniscus, NZ Poetry Society, The Ghazal Page and others.