Your friend is coming I say
To Percy, and name a name
And he runs to the door, his
Wide mouth in its laugh-shape,
And waves, since he has one, his tail.
Emerson, I am trying to live,
As you said we must, the examined life.
But there are days I wish
There was less in my head to examine,
Not to speak of the busy heart. How
Would it be to be Percy, I wonder, not
Thinking, not weighing anything, just running forward.
The way the dog trots out the front door
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.
Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance—
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Gandhi with his staff and his holy diapers?
Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.
If only she did not shove the cat aside
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.