Category Archives: Poems


The day finally comes
when you have to lift your dog
down from the truck.
It doesn’t matter that for years
he has cleared that distance
in a bound.
Or that he hates for you
to pick him up.
He stands at the tailgate
eying the distance;
does he think his leg
may give in again?
He waits a long time
as if just surveying the scene —
not asking for help,
just enduring it.
With a dignity
That makes you cry. mjh


(Written 3 years before Lucky Dog died.)

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Look East
to watch the setting sun
reach across the miles
to brush the mountains pink
with one last caress farewell
as they blush
rose red at nightfall
and sink into gray
waiting for the moon to say
“Hush, be still now.
I am with you
until dawn.”

Happy Birthday, Billy Collins!

The Writer’s Almanac notes that today is Billy Collins’ 66 birthday. Time to re-read On Turning Ten or The Country (bottom of that page). Collins is one of my favorite poets — perhaps he and Frost share #2 and there is no #1 for me (though I could hardly imagine poets more different than Frost and Collins).

Time to trot out my tribute to Collins:


It doesn’t seem the least bit odd
that all the members of the orchestra
are dogs.
Some in tuxedos,
some in black gowns,
sitting, waiting — good dogs! —
for the conductor
to raise a long meaty bone.
Some clear their throats,
some drool,
none look away for a moment.

It doesn’t seem the least bit odd
that everyone in the audience
is in a tutu.
Men and women dressed for the
ballet, though this is a concert,
each holding a pen and pad
planning to pounce
to snatch some new idea.
As if Beethoven for Dogs
weren’t enough.

It doesn’t seem the least bit odd
in the end
when the conductor puts down his baton,
most of the meat shaken off
to the delight of the First Chair.
He turns and bows
and then I recognize him:
the poet laureate,
the old dog himself. mjh


PS: The WA includes a quote from Collins mentioning sex. I can’t think of any poem by Collins about sex. Maybe that’s why the poem of the day isn’t by Collins but is about sex, sorta.

PPS: Frost’s birthday is 3/26/1874.