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  1. > A five-part poem by Mark Strand from BLIZZARD OF ONE
  2. >
  3. >
  4. > "Five Dogs"
  5. >
  6. > 1
  7. >
  8. > I, the dog they call Spot, was about to sing. Autumn
  9. > Had come, the walks were freckled with leaves, and a tarnished
  10. > Moonlit emptiness crept over the valley floor.
  11. > I wanted to climb the poets' hill before the winter settled in;
  12. > I wanted to praise the soul. My neighbor told me
  13. > Not to waste my time. Already the frost had deepened
  14. > And the north wind, trailing the whip of its own scream,
  15. > Pressed against the house. "A dog's sublimity is never news,"
  16. > He said, "what's another poet in the end?"
  17. > And I stood in the midnight valley, watching the great starfields
  18. > Flash and flower in the wished-for reaches of heaven.
  19. > That's when I, the dog they call Spot, began to sing.
  20. >
  21. >
  22. > 2
  23. >
  24. > Now that the great dog I worshipped for years
  25. > Has become none other than myself, I can look within
  26. > And bark, and I can look at the mountains down the street
  27. > And bark at them as well. I am an eye that sees itself
  28. > Look back, a nose that tracks the scent of shadows
  29. > As they fall, an ear that picks up sounds
  30. > Before they're born. I am the last of the platinum
  31. > Retrievers, the end of a gorgeous line.
  32. > But there's no comfort being who I am.
  33. > I roam around and ponder fate's abolishments
  34. > Until my eyes are filled with tears and I say to myself, "Oh Rex,
  35. > Forget. Forget. The stars are out. The marble moon slides by."
  36. >
  37. >
  38. > 3
  39. >
  40. > Most of my kind believe that Earth
  41. > Is the only planet not covered with hair. So be it,
  42. > I say, let tragedy strike, let the story of everything
  43. > End today, then let it begin again tomorrow. I no longer care.
  44. > I no longer wait in front of the blistered, antique mirror,
  45. > Hoping a shape or a self will rise, and step
  46. > From that misted surface and say: You there,
  47. > Come with me into the world of light and be whole,
  48. > For the love you thought had been dead a thousand years
  49. > Is back in town and asking for you. Oh no.
  50. > I say, I'm done with my kind. I live alone
  51. > On Walnut Lane, and will until the day I die.
  52. >
  53. >
  54. > 4
  55. >
  56. > Before the tremendous dogs are unleashed,
  57. > Let's get the little ones inside, let's drag
  58. > The big bones onto the lawn and clean The Royal Dog Hotel.
  59. > Gypsy, my love, the end of an age has come. Already,
  60. > The howls of the great dogs practicing fills the air,
  61. > And look at that man on all fours dancing under
  62. > The moon's dumbfounded gaze, and look at that woman
  63. > Doing the same. The wave of the future has gotten
  64. > To them and they have responded with all they have:
  65. > A little step forward, a little step back. And they sway,
  66. > And their eyes are closed. O heavenly bodies.
  67. > O bodies of time. O golden bodies of lasting fire.
  68. >
  69. >
  70. > 5
  71. >
  72. > All winter the weather came up with amazing results:
  73. > The streets and walks had turned to glass. The sky
  74. > Was a sheet of white. And here was a dog in a phone booth
  75. > Calling home. But nothing would ease his tiny heart.
  76. > For years the song of his body was all of his calling. Now
  77. > It was nothing. Those hymns to desire, songs of bliss
  78. > Would never return. The sky's copious indigo,
  79. > The yellow dust of sunlight after rain, were gone.
  80. > No one was home. The phone kept ringing. The curtains
  81. > Of sleep were about to be drawn, and darkness would pass
  82. > Into the world. And so, and so . . . goodbye all, goodbye dog.
  83. >
  84.  
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