Monday, April 25, 2011

What do you hear?

That's something I've always wondered about my dogs. I know their hearing is a zillion times keener than mine. Boo can hear the breathing and scratching of mice beneath the deep snow. Sherlock can here the soft rustle of a plastic bag from a dead sleep in another part of the house. Teddy, well in truth, Teddy doesn't hear much of anything anymore, bless his heart. What must it be like to live with those ears, that hearing? I pondered this daily as I wrote Tam's chapters in my book, A Dog's Way Home. What did he hear in the forest as he made his way home to his Girl?
What does Boo hear?

In this lovely poem by Lisel Mueller, she ponders the same question:

What the Dog Perhaps Hears

If an audible whistle blown between our lips
can send him home to us,
then silence is perhaps
the sound of spiders breathing
and roots mining the earth;
it may be asparagus heaving,
headfirst, into the light
and the long brown sound of cracked cups
when it happens.
We would like to ask the dog
if there is a continuous whir
because the child in the house keeps growing,
if the snake really stretches full length without a click
and the sun breaks through the clouds
without a decibel of effort;
whether autumn, when the trees
dry up their wells, there isn't a shutter
too high for us to hear.
What is it like up there
above the shut-off level
of our simple ears?
For us there was no birth-cry,
the newborn bird is suddenly here,
the egg broken, the nest alive,
and we heard nothing when the world changed.

Lisa Mueller