Praise of a Collie
By Norman MacCaig
She was a small dog, neat and fluid --
Even her conversation was tiny:
She greeted you with bow, never bow-wow.
Her sons stood monumentally over her
But did what she told them. Each grew grizzled
Till it seemed he was his own mother's grandfather.
Once, gathering sheep on a showery day,
I remarked how dry she was. Pollochan said, "Ah,
It would take a very accurate drop to hit Lassie."
She sailed in the dinghy like a proper sea-dog.
Where's a burn? -- she's first on the other side.
She flowed through fences like a piece of black wind.
But suddenly she was old and sick and crippled . . .
I grieved for Pollochan when he took her a stroll
And put his gun to the back of her head.
From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch today, on living in Edinburgh and studying Scottish literature. MacCaig, who took Hirsch in, published 16 books of poetry "and wore his erudition lightly."
Last night while folding laundry I watched the episode of Dawson's Creek in which I first heard Beth Nielsen Chapman -- "Seven Shades of Blue" played while Pacey is walking down the beach after twilight, shortly past the stunning breakup scene with the sun shining blindingly off Tamara's hair, so that he was already seeing her as if in faded memory. Sometimes I am embarrassed about how very much I love that show, so it is always wonderful to receive reminders about how good it was even during its soap opera beginnings...the cinematography, the music, the light on the water. I loved that episode the first time despite the Lord's Prayer and I loved it even more this time because it has all the nostalgia I have tied into that Beth Nielsen Chapman song wrapped up in it.
My parents gave us their Orioles-Yankees tickets for this afternoon because they're visiting my sister out of town, so I will be spending the afternoon in Baltimore and the evening in Westminster visiting my in-laws who are camping there. Hopefully it will neither rain nor reach 100 degrees.
Swan in Snow, National Zoo, Washington DC