Shirley, I think I found your soulmate . . .
Attention all lovers of dogs (this means you, MacLaine) and lovers of Mary Oliver poetry alike . . .
Mary Oliver's latest book of poetry is called Dog Songs
, and you guessed it, it is dedicated to the love and lessons with which these fur people bless us every moment. Here's the New York Times'
Those of you who have read (and written) Out on the Leash
will find a kindred spirit here. Several of the poems remind me of the love lessons and tender moments that SM reports in Out on the Leash
. Here are a few examples:
"The Poetry Teacher"
The university gave me a new, elegant
classroom to teach in. Only one thing,
they said. You can't bring your dog.
It's in my contract, I said (I had
made sure of that.)
We bargained and I moved to an old
classroom in an old building. Propped
the door open. Kept a bowl of water
in the room. I could hear Ben among
other voices barking, howling in the
distance. Then they would all arrive--
Ben, his pals, maybe an unknown dog
or two, all of them thirsty and happy.
They drank, they flung themselves down
among the students. The students loved
it. They all wrote thirsty, happy poems.
I bet Mary Oliver is not the only one to negotiate her dog into contracts?
Here's another one:
"Luke's Junkyard Song"
I was born in a junkyard,
not even on a bundle of rags
or the seat of an old wrecked car
but the dust below.
But when my eyes opened
I could crawl to the edge and see
the moving grass and the trees
and this I began to dream on,
though the worms were eating me.
And at night through the twists of metal
I could see a single star--one, not even two.
Its light was a thing of wonder,
and I learned something precious
that would also be good for you.
Though the worms kept biting and pinching
I fell in love with this star.
I stared at it every night--
that light so clear and far.
Listen, a junkyard puppy
learns quickly how to dream.
Listen, whatever you see and love--
that's where you are.
Hope you all find a copy of Dog Songs
and read (or sing) a poem or two to your fur people.
Namaste from the Midwest,