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Dog Songs: Poetry Prompt & Playlist

63 Comments

Dog Songs

We cannot imagine a world without dogs. Their joy-filled, loyal nature is the realization of the person we’d like to become.  Join in and sing (or howl) a few Dog Songs with us. Our Monday poetry prompt might encourage you to wag a little more, too.

To kick off our new poodles, dogs, and pups theme, we’ve put together a playlist that includes everything from a hund to a hound, to the artists Dogge Dog and The Bubble Puppy. And of course Cat Power had to weigh in with a werewolf somewhere near the French poodle and chien.

Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night

He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

“Tell me you love me,” he says.

“Tell me again.”

Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell.

—Mary Oliver, from Dog Songs: Poems

Poetry Prompt:

Write a poem that expresses the loving relationship between a dog and his owner.

Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a poem from Monica that tugged our heartstrings:

Breathe her in, savor
these newborn days as fleeting
as the baby’s breath
the flower is named for.
Carry her skin
to skin.
And don’t blink, they say.
True, but napping
is okay.

—by Monica Sharman

Photo by Greg Westfall. Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Heather Eure.

________________________

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Your Comments

63 Comments so far

  1. L. L. Barkat says:

    Hmmm. I haven’t had a dog in a long time. This poem is about the last dog I owned, who I had to leave behind with a stepfather. Oh, so sorry. It’s not a particularly cheery poem. And it’s much earlier work of mine. But I wanted to share :)

    “Angelo”

    He was just a mutt,
    though to me
    long-haired, ivory comfort
    seemed to be a god

    or perhaps
    a worker of art
    like the Michael
    from whom I took his name.

    We left him behind
    (the way people must
    sometimes
    release their gods
    to time or poverty),

    left him
    in the hands of a man
    who took a shot
    at God’s heart,

    showed it wasn’t
    bullet-proof, after all,
    as I’d prayed it would be.

  2. Wow! What a playlist. So many I haven’t heard for years. Hard to pick favorites, but Dog Days Are Over and Werewolves of London stand out. My daughter recently got a dog (I was concerned, because she did not fare well with the kittens we got her at 10 yo. But after a few months she said to me, “Now I can see how you got so attached to your cats (notice how ownership changed) and dogs.” Dogs and parents are the closest we ever come to unconditional love on earth.

  3. Smokin’ Joe! Who knew these playlists had a scroll bar on the side?! What I’ve been missing all these times…

  4. My last dog I got from a shelter when she was two. She graced my life for 10 years.
    ***

    What I share with the rain
    —for Molly

    hides in dog simplicity—
    her tongue slapping at backwater,
    no bowl and, after rain, the puddles
    from the weight of wheels,
    like mine, which she feared at first,
    as if she knew something, as we do often:
    that death is bound to life
    in unexpected ways:

    a ride, head out the window, ears flapping
    (the wind made breathing easy),

    and later, my voice from which she gained
    a grace for shots and vets,
    like the one I endured with her,
    completing what began years ago,
    her rescue too late, lost, drinking
    the rain that lifted the green pearls
    wheels had left in their swales.

  5. What is it with you people–now the dares are implied. After seeing that dogs were June’s theme in Every Day Poems, I decided to write dog poems all month. After all, I’ve written extensively about Polo and Clover already. Might as well try some poems about them.

  6. LW Lindquist says:

    If Fifi taught me one thing,
    it was the folly of dislodging
    a meat-crusted bone
    from a sharp-toothed mouth
    with a bare-skinned toe.

    But alas–
    in her fur-balled generosity,
    Fifi taught me two things.

    The other: that toy poodle
    is an unfortunate
    contradiction
    in terms.

    • Heather Eure says:

      Growing up, there was an older neighbor who had a toy poodle (my first introduction to them). His name was Ghost. He was 350 years old. Had rheumy eyes, was blinded by cataracts, patchy fur, covered in fleshy bumps and skin tags, long claws that would “rat-a-tat-tat” across the front porch. His bark was shrill and he hated anyone that didn’t smell like moth balls. (I didn’t)
      I’m still haunted by Ghost.

  7. Marcy says:

    My golden girl
    Half Shepherd,
    Half Collie.
    Sweet baby,
    Gentle as a lamb.
    Grew up with all
    Three kids,
    Laid your head
    Against the ground.
    Best dog you’ve even seen.
    A beauty in her field.
    Long straight nose,
    Short hair, best mix of
    A dog anywhere.
    She got hit by a car,
    Rolled as she was hit.
    Saved her life is what
    It did.
    She passed away at 16 years.
    Hardest thing I ever did,
    Was putting my baby down.
    Those big brown eyes,
    Looked up at me,
    She couldn’t walk
    So sad to see.
    Once she was gone,
    We tried three other
    Dogs to love.
    None of those could
    Take her place.
    We found them homes,
    Gave up the faith.

  8. Westie, Toad, and Night

    My Westies love to chase the night
    to find the toad, to taste the dew.
    The act, the hunt, ensures delight.
    My Westies love to chase the night.
    Reborn each day with keen foresight,
    they nap for strength to stalk anew.
    My Westies love to chase the night
    to find the toad to chase the dew

  9. Donna says:

    I grew up with dogs my whole life, but I never knew how much I could truly love a dog until my husband brought Fluffy home one day and showed me how it’s done – how one can have a pet that becomes a brother to their own sons. And so then one day we were given the news that he had become very ill. I wrote this poem on the day I learned of his lymphoma and posted it again, with this last beautiful image of him, on the day he left this world. I’ll post the words here, but the link is better – there is a shape and shading thing with the text – and a photo. http://thebrightersideblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/rip-fluffy-jet-if-hearts-had-handles.html

    How
    will I carry a heart
    this heavy?

    If hearts had handles
    I could hold on

    keep it steady
    somehow

    but there’s just
    no place to grab

    nothing to clutch
    and press against
    my body for
    balance…

    How will
    I carry
    a heart
    this heavy

    filled with the
    breathless sound
    of watching
    you go
    slowly
    into a
    new
    light?

    How…

    will I
    carry
    my
    heart?

  10. I am rather fond of dogs. Here’s one by way of my Leonberger, Ansel.

    I thumb inside his big loose ears,

    his eyelids descend to half mast.

    a gentle paw rises to rest on my arm while

    his breath, a sweet warmth, respires

    from the deep hollow of divine conspiracy. our history is

    natural… my ancestors, and his, ran parallel lines

    along game trails lacing

    pyrenean peaks,

    paddling nova scotia’s icy waters, searching

    through the pass at saint bernard… his specieshood

    distinct, dependence shared, such witness of

    evolution, the wellspring of

    creation. my dog, my God, my soul confer each day

    we three walk the way of work and friendship forged

    through need and care. I laugh when

    he dances with simple joy, bucking bronco rearing,

    twisting, rolling his exultant head in circles to say

    “come play! come live!”. of all the creatures come to

    bless my kind, this

    one

    is my heart.

  11. Donna says:

    Heather… loving this theme! Don’t tell anyone but I have become a dog person. ;)

    • Heather Eure says:

      Haha! Glad you’re enjoying it, Donna. There’s something about dog poems that’s accessible to everyone. Whether joyful or sad, dog poetry is drawn from deep wells. Capturing a glimpse into the lives of each others pups, knits us together as a poetic community. It’s nice to see everyone share so freely.

      Oh, and your secret is safe with me. :) tee hee

  12. a piece I wrote on inauguration day… about an old boy named Sam.

    http://dogwalkerjames.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/sam/

    • Marcy says:

      What happened to the song “How much is that doggie in the window, I do hope that doggie’s for sale? Was that a old Patty Page song?

      • L. L. Barkat says:

        It still exists. But not in my playlist ;-)

        (Could not have that running in my head endlessly. No, no, no.)

        • Marcy says:

          Well, the stupid song has been in my head all day. Somebody help me?

          • Donna says:

            I could stick the song that never ends (’cause it goes on and on my friends) in your head, but that’s not about dogs (although Lambchop’s friend Hush Puppy may be involved in the singing of it). ;)

    • Heather Eure says:

      Sam left me teary-eyed. Such a nice tribute. A great photo, too. Nicely done.

    • Donna says:

      Oh James, this (as I’m trying to see through bleary eyes) I had to share with my husband… he’ll cry too when he reads it, thinking of all the dogs he’s loved but most especially Fluffy.

  13. Why Wolf Became Dog

    I know how wolf became dog,
    why? the cruxy question.
    so awe full an offering,
    some foretelling, I would say, today
    fifteen thousand years
    from whence she wandered
    ‘long tundra’s expanse,
    wolf
    heard a cry,
    a mourning song,
    a terrible, swelling sehnsucht from beneath a
    new mindfulness dwelling upright in the world.
    being was being observed by its own, and
    there was shame in it, it seems
    wolf,
    from ridgeline, raised her ears at village clamor,
    desperate chanting, her empathy stalked
    shadows dancing
    as vapors of yearning rose
    into empty nights
    where all mythologies are spawned,
    wolf
    lowered her head and approached
    the conscious savage
    estranged from the blissful garden.
    she did what had to be done…
    wolf,
    from primal domain, a higher terrain
    emptied herself, taking on
    mortal burdens
    morphed for more than survival’s sake, and
    nuzzled into homes, hearths, hearts
    living and dying, in service to
    the turning back,
    dog
    leading the lost ones to
    the heart of the universe.

  14. Ok, inspired by Megan, Polo, and Clover, here’s my little dog poem.

    “Tilly and Kitty”

    A black cat and
    a black dog
    have about as much in
    common
    as a black night
    and a black car.
    One lingers mysteriously.
    The other forges ahead.

    Usually.

    Today, Midnight sits at the top of the stairs, waiting.
    Tilly whimpers at the bottom,
    like a Chevy with a whiny timing belt.

    I stroke Tilly’s chin,
    then climb the stairs.
    She follows,
    bold now.

  15. Marcy says:

    Growing up on the farm I lived to see three,
    Three dogs, all different as can be.
    First, was a Chow, Chow.
    Red as could be,
    Along with his black tongue,
    A butterball to me.
    Renny got old and lost his hearing.
    Favorite place to lay down for a nap,
    Was the cool gravel of our long driveway.
    Uncle Gordon came by that day,
    He loved old Renny just like us kids.
    You see, Renny was taking his nap,
    Favorite spot,
    Laying on the gravel,
    Didn’t hear the car.
    Uncle Gordon took it real bad,
    He cried, layed down beside Renny,
    He knew Renny was all we had.
    That big old dog,
    All that red long hair.
    I watched my Daddy bury Renny
    In the field over there.
    Daddy loved that dog too.
    His eyes full of tears,
    Mine were too.
    I hate this memory right now,
    Because I can see him, and
    I’m crying right now too.

  16. Marcy says:

    Ok, “Ole To One Of My Dumbest Dogs”

    Black and white spots
    Not perfect spots.
    Sir Reginald of Huntington
    Reggie for short,
    A Dalmatian pup cute as can be.
    Crate him at night,
    Next morning
    Poop there would be.
    Poop all over the pup,
    A bath before work
    This dog was too much.
    Let loose in the yard,
    He ate down the new trees.
    Jumped up and would bite me.
    Kids refused to go play,
    Poop on the dog,
    Still in the crate.
    Stupid dog,
    Hadn’t a clue
    But he got a bath more
    Than me or you.
    Sold that dog to a man
    Who had land.
    Don’t miss Reggie,
    He was a poop of a dog.
    Lay in it, sit in it,
    Didn’t matter where it was at.
    I’m surprised that dog
    Didn’t eat it for a snack.

  17. Donna says:

    This just in –
    Gruffy expresses himself in what I guess you could call mixed media. http://thebrightersideblog.blogspot.com/2014/06/this-just-in.html ;)

  18. Kate Solisti says:

    Remembering Mollie

    Angel of a dog. No one sweeter, more devoted. Beautiful face, Egyptian eyes.
    Her tail, a white, graceful flag. Peaceful, gentle being. Angel of a dog.

    Angel of a dog – loving me constantly. Quietly waiting, eagerly joining me on a walk, in the car, resting under my chair.

    Angel of a dog, licking baby Miranda’s tiny feet, making us both giggle.


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