In desiring a pet, many of you choose dogs, for home security to companionship. And for a percentage of you, one of the reasons you have a dog is to assist you on a hunt. Certainly, dogs have earned the title â€śManâ€™s Best Friendâ€ť for a reason. So for the next month, I will focus on some selections that celebrate, honor and even probe the minds of our four-legged friends.
Billy Collins, one-time Poet Laureate of America, writes much of his poetry about people experiencing and observing life, in everyday language we all can relate to. At times, his poetry likes to get in the minds of theÂ speaker. But what makes for a twist in these poems is the humor that comes from an unconventional setting, like a ten year-old reflecting on his birthday as if he was turning 40. In some, he gets into the minds of, yes, DOGS! Collins isÂ one of my favorite poets, and here isÂ â€ťA Dog on his Masterâ€ť:
As young as I look,
I am growing older faster than he,
seven to one
is the ratio they tend to say.
Whatever the number,
I will pass him one day
and take the lead
the way I do on our walks in the woods.
And if this ever manages
to cross his mind,
it would be the sweetest
shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass.
OK, try to keep it together there. I would say at some point we all have looked at a dog and wondered â€śwhat is this dog thinking right nowâ€ť? How wonderful it would be to know there is a special bond, and the dog appreciates it.
The last line of the second stanzaâ€¦can you picture it? The silence of the woods, with the only the crisp leaves crunching under your feet as you walk? And if hunting, seeing the eagerness in your dogâ€™s eyes as you set him loose after a duck or squirrel.
Yet the dog reflects on â€śpassingâ€ť his master, his partner on walks in the woods. The dog must plan on being around for some time, in order to pass his master, or perhaps the master is already of an older age. It is a word that can have a negative connotation, â€śmasterâ€ť. For me I get an image of a slave/boss relationshipâ€¦something being owned. Yet in this poem, it is used within a heartfelt look on love, a communal bond and the friendship that exists between dog and person.
NOTE: click here to watch and listen to the poet read this poem.