leo-thistleIf you’ve followed this blog for very long, you know that I insert the occasional poem–mostly mine–but someone else’s now and again. I think of poetry as condensed stories. It’s the essence of life boiled down to words that will often fit on a single page. Intense, rich, something to be nibbled and savored.

And then I picked up Dog Songs by Mary Oliver.

And next thing I knew I’d read every single poem. At first, I just dipped in here and there. Then I flipped to the front and read straight through. Even to the acknowledgements. Here is a kindred spirit–a poet who loves dogs.

Or, loved dogs. Mary Oliver died in 2019. But her paean to dogs lives on.

You see, I love poetry and I love dogs. And while poetry is normally something I like to enjoy a little at a time–to roll around in my imagination and drip word by word onto my tongue–dogs are something that should be taken all at once. Dogs are for getting down on the floor and burying your hands in their fur and laughing.

So, it’s only right that Dog Songs should inspire a similar reaction. Go ahead. Read them ALL. Laugh, smile, cry. Just enjoy this litany of dogs none of which lived long enough but all of which brought incredible joy. The God-ordained job of dogs in my opinion.

Inhale the whole thing.dog songs

“You may not agree, you may not care, but if you are holding this book you should know that of all the sights I love in this world—and there are plenty—very near the top of the list is this one: dogs without leashes.” – Mary Oliver