Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Revenant

Otis is still pluggin' along. He even chased his tail today! The tumor is still growing, and unfortunately is beginning to look like an utter on a cow. Yeah, not too aesthetically pleasing. And I'm sure it doesn't help when it comes to catching his tail.

Here is my favorite poem on the subject of the dog. I keep it on my wall and read it often. Sometimes I hear Otis' voice when I read it.

The Revenant - Billy Collins

I am the dog you put to sleep,
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you--not one bit.

When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.

I resented the way you moved,
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.

I would have run away,
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and--greatest of insults--shake hands without a hand.

I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.

You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.

The jingling of my tags drove me mad.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.

While you slept, I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all of my strength
not to raise my head and howl.

Now I am free of the collar,
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place

except what you already supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner--

that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose.

4 comments:

Raina said...

you did a great gob Jeff!!! celia......

Raina said...

celia said great job Jeff!!! and don,t worry about things ahead of life.

Raina said...

sorry Jeff, its saying raina said this but your neibor celia said all of theese

deb said...

Hi Jeff,
Great poem! My dog Henri passed in December, didn't quite make it to Christmas, the New Year, or Obama's inauguration. In the end I'm glad it went quickly, but in truth I feel like I could have tolerated the "trouble" he took for the rest of my life. My love to Otis and you and your family. Nice job with all the pictures. Seems like there could never be enough.
Debbie