> A five-part poem by Mark Strand from BLIZZARD OF ONE
> "Five Dogs"
> I, the dog they call Spot, was about to sing. Autumn
> Had come, the walks were freckled with leaves, and a tarnished
> Moonlit emptiness crept over the valley floor.
> I wanted to climb the poets' hill before the winter settled in;
> I wanted to praise the soul. My neighbor told me
> Not to waste my time. Already the frost had deepened
> And the north wind, trailing the whip of its own scream,
> Pressed against the house. "A dog's sublimity is never news,"
> He said, "what's another poet in the end?"
> And I stood in the midnight valley, watching the great starfields
> Flash and flower in the wished-for reaches of heaven.
> That's when I, the dog they call Spot, began to sing.
> Now that the great dog I worshipped for years
> Has become none other than myself, I can look within
> And bark, and I can look at the mountains down the street
> And bark at them as well. I am an eye that sees itself
> Look back, a nose that tracks the scent of shadows
> As they fall, an ear that picks up sounds
> Before they're born. I am the last of the platinum
> Retrievers, the end of a gorgeous line.
> But there's no comfort being who I am.
> I roam around and ponder fate's abolishments
> Until my eyes are filled with tears and I say to myself, "Oh Rex,
> Forget. Forget. The stars are out. The marble moon slides by."
> Most of my kind believe that Earth
> Is the only planet not covered with hair. So be it,
> I say, let tragedy strike, let the story of everything
> End today, then let it begin again tomorrow. I no longer care.
> I no longer wait in front of the blistered, antique mirror,
> Hoping a shape or a self will rise, and step
> From that misted surface and say: You there,
> Come with me into the world of light and be whole,
> For the love you thought had been dead a thousand years
> Is back in town and asking for you. Oh no.
> I say, I'm done with my kind. I live alone
> On Walnut Lane, and will until the day I die.
> Before the tremendous dogs are unleashed,
> Let's get the little ones inside, let's drag
> The big bones onto the lawn and clean The Royal Dog Hotel.
> Gypsy, my love, the end of an age has come. Already,
> The howls of the great dogs practicing fills the air,
> And look at that man on all fours dancing under
> The moon's dumbfounded gaze, and look at that woman
> Doing the same. The wave of the future has gotten
> To them and they have responded with all they have:
> A little step forward, a little step back. And they sway,
> And their eyes are closed. O heavenly bodies.
> O bodies of time. O golden bodies of lasting fire.
> All winter the weather came up with amazing results:
> The streets and walks had turned to glass. The sky
> Was a sheet of white. And here was a dog in a phone booth
> Calling home. But nothing would ease his tiny heart.
> For years the song of his body was all of his calling. Now
> It was nothing. Those hymns to desire, songs of bliss
> Would never return. The sky's copious indigo,
> The yellow dust of sunlight after rain, were gone.
> No one was home. The phone kept ringing. The curtains
> Of sleep were about to be drawn, and darkness would pass
> Into the world. And so, and so . . . goodbye all, goodbye dog.