Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Poem of the day: Alvin Greenberg

With a bit of explanation. My Ph.D. exams were on sonnet sequences. I have to admit that this was the most fun part of taking my exams, finding all kinds of new sonnet sequences. Someday, I'd like to hunt down some more. This poem I heard at a reading in Minneapolis at a writer's conference of some kind, a big one that I now don't remember. Stanley Kunitz was there. Hearing him read raised the hair on the back of my neck. Anyway, those of you who have pets should really get this book, Why We Live With Animals by Alvin Greenberg. It's funny and touching and they're all sonnets.

20

why is that grown man standing about
at the end of a leash, watching an animal shit?
is that the sort of life he ought to be leading?
shouldn't there, somehow, be something more to it
than standing around on the edge of the park pleading
with a dog to be done with its business without
attracting the attention of the neighbors?
these are serious questions. you've got to admit
that tying yourself to an animal while it shits
in public, hoping, meanwhile, that others will ignore
you, seems a little odd. the poor dog labors
with its back hunched up, while you stand around
pretending it's
just another lovely day--and that's
in spite of the rain. say, oh say, there's more.