Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Poetry of Dogs

Molly O'Neill
One thing my lovely editor, Molly O'Neill, and I have in common is a passion for poetry. On her blog, Ten Block Walk, she often includes poetry. So in honor of her and in honor of National Poetry Month, I'll be posting poems this month about (what else) dogs! Because really, what's more poetic than the sight of a dog running through a meadow or the way he looks at you with such ardor.
Just imagine the poetry Emily Dickinson might have written had she shared her life with a dog!

So to start off, I'm going to share with you one of my favorite poems about dogs. I love it so much, I have it pinned to my bulletin board in my office. It has inspired me in many way. The poem, Why Dogs Stopped Flying, was written by Kenneth Brewer. Kenneth was a retired professor of English, and Utah Poet Laureate until his untimely death from cancer in 2006. His direct, spare, often sardonic poems celebrate the land and its creatures. He is certainly one of the finest poets of modern time to come out of the West.

Why Dogs Stopped Flying

Before humans,
dogs flew everywhere.
Their wings of silky fur
wrapped hollow bones.
Their tails wagged
like rudders through the wind,
their stomachs bare
to the sullen earth.

Out of sorrow
for the first humans--
stumbling, crawling
helpless and cold-
dogs folded their great wings
into paws
soft enough to walk
beside us forever.

They still weep for us,
pity our small noses,
our unfortunate eyes,
our dull teeth.
They lick our faces clean,
keep us warm at night.
Sometimes they remember flying
and bite our ugly hands.

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