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Friday, July 12, 2013

365 Poems: Exactly what I needed to make a point about understanding poetry

Day 193

So, the other day we talked about understanding poetry -- about how 'normal people' can understand poetry without an 'interpeter,' so to speak.

Today while I was driving to work after an evening spent with YOU SAY JUSTIN I SAY BEIBER and 18,000+ screaming fans, I heard The Writer's Almanac on WFYI. The poem of the day -- If I Were a Dog -- is perfect for sharing. It seems to start out about one thing, and ends up about another. It's got humor, and pathos, and it's deep without being inaccessible. Be sure to read the whole thing here. And if you click on the cover at right, you can browse poet Richard Shelton's works.

If I Were a Dog

by Richard Shelton
I would trot down this road sniffing
on one side and then the other
peeing a little here and there
wherever I felt the urge
having a good time what the hell
saving some because it's a long road....

[and the 'dog' conjectures about his possible masters]

....or maybe it would be a woman
I would protect her we could go
everywhere together even down this
dark road and I wouldn't run from side
to side sniffing I would always
be protecting her and I would stop
to pee only once in awhile....

Starts out about a dog, and peeing, and ends up about love. The last stanza is particularly excellent, and surprisingly emotional. I rather think a poem like this is what poetry is really all about.

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