Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Dog Blogging

The "Heritage Committee of Pensacola 450th Celebration" is having a poetry contest as part of next year's celebration of Tristan de Luna's disastrous landing in Northwest Florida. Locals are invited to submit "works of poetry" in three categories:
  1. Pensacola's heritage written by local people.
  2. Pensacola people's cultural and ethnic identities, also by local people.
  3. Published poems by celebrated poets from cultures represented in Pensacola's population.
That last category seems excessively expansive, given Pensacola's rich multi-ethnic heritage. Indeed, it would be hard to find among the "celebrated poets" of the world an ethnicity that hasn't been "represented in Pensacola's population" at one time or another.

Maybe Nils-Aslak Valkeapä; although with all the sailing ships that have put to port in Pensacola over the last five centuries, it's a good bet there were there were some Laplanders aboard, too.

With so many wonderful poets to choose from, we give up. Inspired by the ubiquitous "Friday Cat Blogging" craze, reliably exemplified at the end of every week by our feline friendly neighbor at Why Now?, we offer the poem below, primarily because it wasn't included in the Collected Works of Howard Nemerov.

It wasn't included because Nemerov kept on writing. Now, what good is it to call your book the "collected works" of someone if the poet is still alive and working?
Walking the Dog
By Howard Nemerov

Two universes mosey down the street
Connected by love and a leash and nothing else.
Mostly I look at lamplight through the leaves
While he mooches along with tail up and snout down,
Getting a secret knowledge through the nose
Almost entirely hidden from my sight.

We stand while he's enraptured by a bush
Till I can't stand our standing any more
And haul him off; for our relationship
Is patience balancing to this side tug
And that side drag; a pair of symbionts
Contented not to think each other's thoughts.

What else we have in common's what he taught,
Our interest in shit. We know its every state
From steaming fresh through stink to nature's way
Of sluicing it downstreet dissolved in rain
Or drying it to dust that blows away.
We move along the street inspecting shit.

His sense of it is keener far than mine,
And only when he finds the place precise
He signifies by sniffing urgently
And circles thrice about, and squats, and shits,
Whereon we both with dignity walk home
And just to show who's master I write the poem.
If you want to enter the contest, here are the instructions:
Deadline for submissions is May 22.
Send to Ora Wills, 4910 Lynell St., Pensacola, FL 32503
or e-mail owills@uwf.edu

2 comments:

BeachLover said...

"Walking the Dog" is utterly hilarious. Thanks, needed that.

Lehman in Leon said...

My favorite, too.