Sunday, April 10, 2011

Returning to Earth

Jim H. and friend
I love it when my favorite fiction authors also write poetry--as long as they do it well. Not all do, or can. Or should, for that matter. One of my favorite authors of adult fiction is Jim Harrison. You know him as the author of such classics as Legends of the Fall and my personal favorite, Dalva. But did you know he also writes and publishes poetry? And just like his fiction, his poems are wonderfully earthy, humorous, and gorgeous--maybe even more so. Jim is also a huge fan of dogs. His essays about them have appeared in magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Bark Magazine. So in celebration of National Poetry Month and all things dog, I give you one of my favorite poems by Jim Harrison.

Returning to Earth

I'm getting very old. If I were a mutt
in dog years I'd be seven, not stray so far.
I am large. Tarpon my age are often large
but they are inescapably fish. A porpoise
my age was the King of New Guinea in 1343.
Perhaps I am the king of my dogs, cats, horses
but I have dropped the notion of explaining
to them why I read so much. To be mysterious
is a prerogative of kingship. I discovered lately
that my subjects do not live a life,
but are life itself.
They do not recognize
the pain of the schizophrenia of kingship.
To them I am pretty much a fellow creature.

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