I am a dog lover, through and through. And a few weeks ago when standing in the Powell’s on Hawthorne, I saw Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs and had to have it. It’s a slim volume, mostly made up of poems, but there are a few short essays as well. And it is lovely.
I read through it in one sitting, laughing, feeling nostalgic, and missing my dog. She captures, so perfectly, what it is to live with dogs. So, if like me, you are a dog lover, I would pick this up. It’s also my first foray into poetry since I took literature classes in college and it was lovely to read it again. So, if you like poetry and you have recommendations, let me know, I want to read more poems.
Be prepared. A dog is adorable and noble. A dog is a true and loving friends. A dog is also a hedonist. (p. 85)
But I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also all the good attachments to that origin that we can keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its grateful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the sense, and the beauty of forest and ocean and rain and our own breath. There is not a dog that romps and runs but we learn from him.