I love dogs, and I love poems, and I happened across this book quite by accident. When I saw it, I immediately had to snatch it up, and I read it in one day. This was a library copy, and so, after finishing the book, I had to immediately buy a copy for myself. This is a book I will certainly read over and over again.
Mary Oliver is a new poet for me, but she is well-known in the literary world, having won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Her works in “Dog Song” are straight-forward, and at first glance, almost simple. They are not, however, simple in any way. Rather, Mary Oliver communicates the small, every day happenings that give depth to the relationships between dogs and people. And for me, while many of the poems seemed to celebrate what it means to be a dog, I found myself reflecting more on what it means to be a person, and what it means to be me. This one, for example, reminded me of joy, and how I often forget to appreciate the wonder of each moment:
The Storm (Bear)
Now through the white orchard my little dog
romps, breaking the new snow
with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins
until the white snow is written upon
in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
the pleasures of the body in this world.
Oh, I could not have said it better
Read “Dog Songs.” Even if you are not a dog lover, I promise you will enjoy it. And if you are a dog lover, then, like me, you will certainly read this book more than once.
Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver
Published October 8, 2013
The Penguin Press