I love me a good dog, I love me a good dog poem, and I love me some good Bart Sutter poetry!
The good dog I love is our mutt Murphy, aka Murf, the Murfster, Murfkins, Mur Mur, and Cur, as in “Drop that (baseball cap, napkin, New Yorker, sock, shoe…)! Drop it right now! DROP! Now drop it, Murphy, I mean it! O–kay, here’s a treat, you cur! Now drop it. Good boy.
Now here’s a good dog poem I love (line breaks compliments of wordpress, not Bart):
Lessons I Learned from Our Dog
Sophie, a Husky-Shepherd Cross My Wife Picked from the Pound
Because She was Pretty and the Only Quiet Dog in the Room,
Who had been Found Half Starved, Wandering a Golf Course,
Who Ran Away Whenever She Got the Chance
But Still Chose to Live with Us for Thirteen Years
Be like me, the color of ploughed earth and autumn grass;
You’ll blend in when you want, win compliments besides.
Cock your head to the ground now and then. Wonder what’s down there. Dig.
Keep a wet nose and a whiff of the wolf about you. Never forget
The great gift of four legs. Run. Run. Run whenever you can.
Pity the two-legged ones, though they loom above you and dream they’re in charge.
One of the joys of this life is scouting ahead and ranging around,
But keep checking back on the less adventurous laggards
And look on them with compassion before you dash off.
Whenever you come to a fork in the path, wait for a sign
From the talking heads, for they are less carefree; they have ideas.
Crouch and sleek yourself before unfamiliar peers;
Lay back your ears, narrow your eyes, lower your tail, and growl.”
When biting your friends, go easy, go easy.
Know you can run the entire day away
And still be barely rebuked as long as you’re back by sundown.
Prodding by snout often results in petting by hand.
After you poop, kick up your heels. Never spend all of your piss in one place.
Birds can be snatched out of bushes more often than squirrels can be caught on the run.
The earth is worth listening to every once in a while.
There’s something down there. Dig. Keep digging.”
Welcome new snow not with dread but with bounding abandon.
Rain is something else again. And hail? Hail is hell.”
There is little to fear in this world except bridges, firecrackers, and thunder.
All of these fears can be overcome … except firecrackers and thunder.
A closet, a table, even a grand piano will serve as a den in a pinch.
Yapping’s for puppies. Barking’s barbaric. Howling,
However, is you, and clears the fog from your lungs.
Howl for your missing master, howl for your missing mistress,
Howl for the children grown up and gone,
Howl for the days they’ve kept your corralled, howl for the loss
Of your ancestors, no more nights running the frozen rivers by moonlight,
Howl for every indignity ever visited upon the race of dog,
Howl for the mute frustration of snuffles and woofs,
For the lack of language except for this heartfelt, gutfelt moan
By means of which you make your ultimate loneliness known.
Whining works wonders, but don’t overdo it. Butt-sniffing is fun.
Never walk when you can run. Keep digging. Keep digging. [pix of Sophie is you have one]
It’s by Barton Sutter and the poetry I love is from his new collection of poems, The Reindeer Camps and Other Poems, published by BOA Editions. http://www.boaeditions.org/ http://www.amazon.com/Reindeer-Camps-American-Poets-Continuum/dp/1934414840/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343158116&sr=8-1&keywords=the+reindeer+camps