Dog Songs


Mary Oliver died January 17th, prompting me to remember when I wrote about her…and to remember a favorite dog.  (


Today’s New York Times Book Review is dedicated to poetry, prompting me to reread the favorites on my shelf and introducing me to a new poet, Mary Oliver, with her 2013 book of poems Dog Songs.

“True to its title, the book gathers poems (and one essay) about dogs. ‘I think they are companions the way people aren’t,’ Oliver told the Times when it was published in 2013. ‘They lie next to you when you’re sad. And, they remind us that we’re animals too…'”

Gregory Cowles, Inside the List

After downloading the sample book, I realized I needed this book in print – to appreciate all the pictures of dogs included. My library system has 24 books of poetry by Mary Oliver; besides Dog Songs, I’ve also ordered ThirstWhy I Wake Early, and American Primitive, the book that won her the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984.

9780143125839_p0_v1_s192x300Here’s a teaser from the sample:


I have a bed, my very own.

It’s just my size.

And sometimes I like to sleep alone

with dreams inside my eyes.


But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and


and I wake and am afraid, though I don’t know


But I’m no longer sleepy

and too slowly the hours go by.


So I climb on the bed where the light of the


is shining on your face

and I know it will be morning soon.


Everybody needs a safe place.