I want to be a better friend to my dog

I heard this Billy Collins poem about dogs today while listening to the TED Radio Hour*:

I laughed, but now I want to be a better friend to my dog, Mosley.

*The TED Radio Hour is such a stellar podcast. If you haven’t discovered podcasts yet, this is a great one to subscribe to to get started. Every episode is solid.

The Revenant
by Billy Collins

I am the dog you put to sleep,
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you – not one bit.

When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.

I resented the way you moved,
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair and eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.

I would have run away,
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and – greatest of insults – shake hands without a hand.

I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.

You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.

The jingling of my tags drove me mad.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.

While you slept, I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all my strength
not to raise my head and howl.

Now I am free of the collar,
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place

except what you already supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner –
that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose.

Dropping keys

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Catch yourself locking others up in your expectations, your dogma. And stop it.

Break out of the constraints others place on you. Be authentic. Be real. Be your rowdy, unfiltered self, regardless of what others want you to be and regardless of how imperfect you will be exposed to be.

Your freedom just might liberate someone else. Your vulnerability just might embolden those around you who are only going through the motions, who feel trapped in cages built by someone else.

The wise man accepts the beautiful messiness of life and does not try to fix others. He just wants them to be free.

Stop building cages. Start a jail break.

Mother’s Day gift: Sarah Kay’s poem

Need something thoughtful for a mother in your life for Mother’s Day this weekend? My daughters and I gave this lovely little book of Sarah Kay’s poem B to my wife a couple of years ago.

It’s the poem Sarah performed on the TED stage to much acclaim. I loved her dynamic presence on stage as much as her message.

Mothers and daughters will especially appreciate the message of this poem, but fathers and sons and any human would, too.