I had a dog / who loved flowers…

Precious Luna--faithful friend, old soul, teacher. Thank you.

Luke

by Mary Oliver

I had a dog
who loved flowers.
Briskly she went
through the fields,

yet paused
for the honeysuckle
or the rose,
her dark head

and her wet nose
touching
the face
of every one

with its petals
of silk,
with its fragrance
rising

into the air
where the bees,
their bodies
heavy with pollen,

hovered—
and easily
she adored
every blossom,

not in the serious,
careful way
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom—

the way we praise or don’t praise—
the way we love
or don’t love—
but the way

we long to be—
that happy
in the heaven of earth—
that wild, that loving.

“Luke” by Mary Oliver from Dog Songs. © Penguin, 2013.

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Two horses…The dignity of being.

Two horses were put together in the same paddock.
Night and day. In the night and in the day
wet from heat and the chill of the wind
on it. Muzzle to water, snorting, head swinging
and the taste of bay in the shadowed air.
The dignity of being. They slept that way,
knowing each other always.
Withers quivering for a moment,
fetlock and the proud rise at the base of the tail,
width of back. The volume of them, and each other’s weight.
Fences were nothing compared to that.
People were nothing. They slept standing,
their throats curved against the other’s rump.
They breathed against each other,
whinnied and stomped.
There are things they did that I do not know.
The privacy of them had a river in it.
Had our universe in it. And the way
its border looks back at us with its light.
This was finally their freedom.
The freedom an oak tree knows.
That is built at night by stars.

“The Weight” by Linda Gregg, from Chosen by the Lion. © Graywolf Press, 1994.

Finding my New Year’s Resolution with the help of Philip Appleman, my friend Becky, and Monty Python!

Earlier today as I was casting about for a New Year’s resolution, I came upon Philip Appleman’s poem New Year’s Resolution. The segment beginning “Resolved: this year” seemed good, instructive:

Resolved: this year

I’m going to break my losing streak,

I’m going to stay alert, reach out,

speak when not spoken to,

read the minds of people in the streets.

I’m going to practice every day,

stay in training, and be moderate

in all things…

(From:  “New Year’s Resolution,” by Philip Appleman, in New and Selected Poems,1996)

Later today I discovered that my dear and long-standing friend, Becky, closed her thoughtful and fun-to-read New Year’s Eve blog post with Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song”.  The song invites us to put our lives in perspective, just as this time of year does, as well: “So remember when you’re feeling small and insecure / how amazingly unlikely is your birth…” How perfect is that?

Check out this version of the Galaxy Song to learn some astronomy (in less than three minutes) and to be reminded that our trip through the Universe is completely wild and fast. See if this doesn’t make you want to get out there and experience it all.

Happy New Year to you. May 2014 be truly memorable-in-a-good-way and personally meaningful.

In the darkness of the barn their woolly backs were full of light gathered on summer pastures.

Above them their white breath was suspended, while far off in the pine woods, night was deep in silence. Heinrich_von_Zügel_Sheep_in_a_barn_1885

Heinrich von Zügel. Sheep in a barn. 1885

Sheep in the Winter Night
by Tom Hennen

Inside the barn the sheep were standing, pushed close to one
another. Some were dozing, some had eyes wide open listening
in the dark. Some had no doubt heard of wolves. They looked
weary with all the burdens they had to carry, like being thought
of as stupid and cowardly, disliked by cowboys for the way they
eat grass about an inch into the dirt, the silly look they have
just after shearing, of being one of the symbols of the Christian
religion. In the darkness of the barn their woolly backs were
full of light gathered on summer pastures. Above them their
white breath was suspended, while far off in the pine woods,
night was deep in silence. The owl and rabbit were wondering,
along with the trees, if the air would soon fill with snowflakes,
but the power that moves through the world and makes our
hair stand on end was keeping the answer to itself.

“Sheep in the Winter Night” by Tom Hennen, from Darkness Sticks to Everything © Copper Canyon Press, 2013.

“The Dog Song” by Nellie McKay “…find yourself a hound and make that doggie proud”

THE DOG SONG
by Nellie McKay

I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song, strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog, catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong

My life was lonely and blue
Yeah I was sad as a sailor
I was an angry ‘un too then there was you
Appeared, when I was entangled

With youth, and fear, and nerves
Jingle jangled vermouth and beer
Were gettin’ me mangled up

But then I looked in your eyes
And I was no more a failure
You looked so wacky and wise
And I said, Lord I’m happy

‘Cause I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song, strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog, catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong

‘Cause I don’t care ’bout your
Hatin’ and your doubt and I don’t care
What the politicians spout

If you need a companion
Well just go right to the pound
And find yourself a hound
And make that doggie proud
‘Cause that’s what it’s all about

My life was tragic and sad
I was the archetypal loser
I was a pageant gone bad

Then there was you on time
And wagging your tail
In the cutest mime
And you was in jail

I said woof, be mine
And you gave a wail
And then I was no longer alone
And I was no more a boozer

We’ll make the happiest home
And I said Lord I’m happy
‘Cause I’m just a walkin’ my dog

I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song, strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog, catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong

‘Cause I don’t care ’bout your
Hatin’ and your doubt and I don’t care
What the politicians spout

If you need a companion
Why just go on by the pound
And find yourself a hound
And make that doggie proud

‘Cause that’s what it’s all about
That’s what it’s all about
That’s what it’s all about

That’s what it’s all abow, wow, wow
That’s what it’s all about
(Pant, pant, pant, pant, pant)
Good dog

Nellie McKay – The Dog Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics

How my dog became fat: I believed her when she said, “Help me. I haven’t eaten for days.”

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 2.12.32 PM I learned the hard way that a fat dog is, basically, a sick dog.

It was all my fault: I believed her when she seemed to say with her sweet, sincere eyes, “Help me. I am starving.” Inevitably she ballooned over time.

A vet said, “She’s got to go on a crash diet. Now,” and provided diet instructions on a green page from a prescription pad. I followed the instructions religiously. The plan worked.

I learned the hard way, at the expense of my dear pup, that a dog is a hedonist.

THE WICKED SMILE
by Mary Oliver

“Please, please, I think I haven’t eaten
for days.”

What? Ricky, you had a huge supper.

“I did? My stomach doesn’t remember.
Oh, I think I’m fading away. Please
make me breakfast and I’ll tell you
something you don’t know.”

He ate rapidly.

Okay, I said. What were you going to
tell me?

He smiled the wicked smile. “Before we
came over, Anne already gave me my breakfast,”
he said.

Be prepared. A dog is adorable and noble.
A dog is a true and loving friend. A dog
is also a hedonist.

We Have A Secret — Coping when a dog passes away

...and when I call, no one but I can see the bending grass.

And only I can see you pause
at every brook I pass…

We Have A Secret

We have a secret, you and I,
that no one else shall know,
for who but I can see you lie
each night in fire glow?
And who but I can reach my hand
before we go to bed
and feel the living warmth of you
and touch your silken head?
And only I walk woodland paths
and see ahead of me,
your sweet form racing with the wind
so young again, and free.
And only I can see you pause
at every brook I pass
and when I call, no one but I
can see the bending grass.

Author Unknown