my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Doggie Wisdom

Percy (nine)

Mary Oliver

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.

Billy Collins
The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
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
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she
would be,
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.


marie-josé said...

Two lovely poems. Now, be prepared, Pam, for I am going to shock you. I prefer the Mary Oliver one. It is perfectly paced, un-didactic (yeah!) and with a great ending: "Not thinking... just running forward." An attitude we need to have once in a while.

pkcyphert said...

That is a shock. I hesitated in posting another MO knowing how you felt about the last one. Sometimes I think she can't be beat. You really have to hear Billy Collins speaking his poem with his dry wit to appreciate the humor in it. Here is a great link to Collins reading many great poems if you have time.

Jayne said...

I just listened to Billy Collins reading his poems on that link you gave us above. He looks nothing like I pictured him! Now I will have to order a book of his poems. What an amazing poet he is.

Loretta said...

Jayne and Marie, were you there when Billy Collins read at Clarion?