Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January 31: "The Poetry Teacher," Wisdom from My Dog, Nap

Mary Oliver's dog teaches her students about happiness . . .

The Poetry Teacher

by:  Mary Oliver

The university gave me a new, elegant
classroom to teach in.  Only one thing, 
they said.  You can't bring your dog.
It's in my contract, I said.  (I had
made sure of that.)

We bargained and I moved to an old
classroom in an old building.  Propped
the door open.  Kept a bowl of water
in the room.  I could hear Ben among
other voices barking, howling in the
distance.  Then they would all arrive--
Ben, his pals, maybe an unknown dog
or two, all of them thirsty and happy.
They drank, they flung themselves down
among the students.  The students loved
it.  They all wrote thirsty, happy poems.

Like Mary Oliver, I've learned a lot of things from my dog.

First, always greet people you love as if you haven't seen them for 20 years, even if they're just coming back from peeing in the bathroom

Second, bark, jump, shout, leap when you encounter something that excites you--a poem, a Christmas tree, a squirrel.

Third, when you're tired, nap.

Fourth, eat every meal like it's your last--wolfing, making so much noise that you drown out the TV, traffic, negative thoughts.

Fifth, always share your pizza crusts and Ritz crackers.

Sixth, love unconditionally, trust unconditionally, and kill any and all rodents unconditionally.

Seventh, go for walks any time you get the chance, but do NOT pee on everything you see.

Eighth, scratch where it itches, even in mixed company.

Ninth, everything smells as good as Thanksgiving turkey and pancakes.

Tenth, if you bark loud and long enough, people may think you're a little crazy.  Or rabid.

Eleventh, it's not considered polite to sniff people's crotches.

Twelfth, sometimes just sitting by someone you love makes the world a better place.

That's just a few life lessons from Saint Marty's puppy.

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