Sunday, February 6, 2011

runes & tunes: 'Dharma' & 'Dixie the Tiny Dog'

Daisy doing her dharma.
The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her dog house
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance—
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Ghandi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.

          - Billy Collins

Poems about animals can be tricky: treacly, in fact.  Or morbid.  Or just plain "off".  In my opinion, Collins offers something unsentimental yet emotive and worth considering here, and Mary Oliver does well with animal-inspired poems pretty frequently (though not always).  Who else? 

Remind me... Have you ever tried your hand at a poem with an animal focus?  Or can you recommend one that hits the mark?

The Poet
Billy Collins, former US poet-laureate, during his tenure in that position, created the excellent Poetry 180 site.  You might like to get one of his books and visit the sites.

'Dixie the Tiny Dog' 
here's the song. enjoy.

The Musician
"Dixie" by the way cool artist-musician Peter Himmelman.  Go check him out: One multi-talented man.


FYI: Pairings for 'runes & tunes' are my own.  They might be thematically related or structurally or tonally or just associatively in some way that only my particular subconscious understands.  They'll be enjoyable always - worth a moment or two to read, to ponder, to listen, to ponder again.

PLEASE support the poets & musicians who change us with their art.

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