Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shove and Tumble

Happy National Poetry Month!

Last week I got my first-ever dog: Rosie, a golden retriever, rescued from Tennessee. Since I married a dog person, I knew this would happen eventually, but I was unprepared for the magnetic love in this creature's eyes, or for the energy it requires to walk her enough so that she'll go to sleep at night!

Mark Doty has been writing about dogs for decades, so he does it better than I. Here is an excerpt from a wonderful poem that I heard him read at Smith College. The entire poem appears at


They shove and tumble around us
on the concrete floor, the little ones,
just as they must have crowded
around the gates of this world,

eager to live. So much
to be licked, on earth,
what work! All mouth,
sure of their reception,

they've hurried to a realm
they know will feed them,
and they open their new faces
to us, tongues and teeth

apprehending our sweetness and pity,
smells and salts. This is here,
the minds register, yes,
and this, and this is good....


  1. The doting on Doty aside (I must admit I find him mediocre), I'm glad you got a dog, especially one that was rescued. My daughter has a Lab/Shepherd mix gotten from the Springfield pound several years ago. I really liked her... until she rolled in carrion. Okay, I still like her, but yuck!

  2. So cute! Can I come over and play?