Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day...and Mary Oliver's "Dog Songs"

The beautiful book find of yesterday: Mary Oliver's Dog Songs, just sitting there waiting for me on the new book shelves at our little library here in town. If it could have wagged its tail in friendly greeting, it would have.

I scooped it up happily and brought it home, but a very busy day (lots of work deadlines right now) meant that I didn't open it until late last night. It was past midnight, in fact, and I was bleary eyed from working but in need of winding down before sleep. I started at the beginning and smiled my way through several poems, but then flipped through at random, which is how I discovered "Percy Speaks While I Am Doing Taxes."

Knowing that in a few short hours I would be crawling out of the warm covers to do my local taxes before the deadline, I turned to the poem -- and laughed aloud. I love the picture Oliver paints of her patient dog waiting for her to finish this "essential" task so they can get on to the truly important business of taking a walk. I love that her own words feel like thoughts and the dog's speech gets the solidity of quotation marks.

Percy, I say, this has to be done. This is
essential. I'll be finished eventually.

"Keep me in your thoughts," he replies. "Just because
  I can't count to ten doesn't mean 
I don't remember yesterday, or anticipate today.
I'll give you ten more minutes," and he does. 
  Then shouts--who could resist--his
    favorite words: Let's go! 

1 comment:

Erin said...

Gotta read that one! How fitting to find a poem about doing taxes! Sometimes I do think dogs' priorities are far preferable...