A few months ago, I was walking through Golden Gate Park and found a dog that looked like it was running around lost. I was sure its owner was worried sick, but the dog was having a great time. It was meeting a bunch of people and saying what’s up to other dogs. Followed it for a while trying to get a read on its tag when I noticed it kept sidling up to this elderly lady walking in front of me. At first, it seemed like she was muttering “shoo” or something each time, but after a few more minutes, I realized she must have been the owner. Why else would the dog keep going back to her?
So I left it in her hands and watched them walk away together. But after I got home, I jotted down a poem to describe the story I imagined of a dog finding a reluctant new owner. It’s not T.S. Eliot, but that’s not the point.
Try writing a poem every once in a while… everyone can and should. It’s like dancing or singing – for some reason, most people say they can’t do these things. There seems to be a strange cultural resistance in parts of the States where creative expression is seen as something unique. You’re the odd one out if you are musical or can dance really well: talent must be rare. That’s absolutely not the case. There are places (here and abroad) where it’s weird if you can’t sing or dance. Every person is born with the ability to do all kinds of things. Uptight communities and social norms stifle us. I tried to sing every day for years/ watched YouTube videos about how to breathe, and now I crush karaoke and have some vibrato in my voice. I used to “have no rhythm” but most of my friends would consider me a great dancer now because one day I decided to start trying. You have to keep doing it and not care what people think.
Poems we write will almost definitely be terrible like the one below, but it’s a fun exercise to try and make things rhyme/ flow… it’s more feel than cerebral.
Doggo: inspired by a new pal who wouldn’t quit
Doggo unleashed let go he ran
All through the streets real quick like man
Over under and through the side
Then side to side he didn’t hide
He said hello and knew he knew
His friends plus doggos by their poo
Then he came ‘pon Grammy walkin
Full of song she was once talkin
Bout the life that she had had
Now it’s whimping long like sad
Doggo one eye up one eye stray
Said hello to her hey good day
But pay no tension no she’d not
Said thank you no that’s quite a lot
To think that doggo’d care for real
Care real he did stuck to her heel
She kept on walkin super fast
He kept on runnin won’t be last
Till so unclear who was leading
They wove through streets eyes not meeting
Go away she said shoo and flee
She noticed me he thought with glee
Thus made unbreakable the bond
This probly by some magic wand
Reluctant master saying go leave
Doggo him a real pet peeve
Former master now forgotten
But it’s ok now all forgiven
For doggo goes where we most need
When we hurt most may doggo heed
Smile at night there as you lay
Smile cuz there’s no need to pray
Smile cuz doggos save the day!
As a final note, I mentioned T.S. Eliot above – I picked up his Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats at a bookstore back in October, and it’s become one of my favorite coffee table reads. It’s what Cats the musical is based on. Just a bunch of whimsical poems about cat characters. Incredible.