Monday, April 09, 2012

Michael J. Rosen - Unsung Dog Song

Unsung Dog Song
Michael J. Rosen

My Dog, you are Close when others are Distance,
you’re Welcome at every screen door.
You are Home when still we are far away,
and Ready, no matter what for.

Wherever there’s water you’re Splash, my dog,
you’re Fetch whatever is thrown.
You’re Chase if ever there’s room for a run.
You’re Stay when I stay here alone.

You are Warmth with never a thought to weather,
you’re Yes with never a word.
Yes is you, no matter the question,
no matter the no’s you’ve heard.

You are Ears for all that is quiet, my dog,
Listener to what’s underground.
You are Nose to all of the news that is smell,
though I never know what you’ve found.

You are Demon of Squirrels, Barker at Gates,
a Clown who invents his own tricks.
You are Keeper of Secrets, Thief of my Socks,
my Beggar, my Bringer of Sticks.

You are Praise whenever I lose or I win.
You are Watch, whatever I try.
You’re Again! when everyone else says enough!
Let’s go! is your always reply.

You’re all-over Soft (especially your ears),
except for the scratch of your toes.
You are filler of Vacuums, Shedder Supreme,
I wear some of you on my clothes.

You’re Grown-up as much as I want to be,
and Puppy no matter what stage.
No matter the number of years we are old,
you’re always my very own age.

Dog of All Dogs, you are my own Song:
the tune is a walk on a trail,
the lyrics are simply the lick of your tongue,
the beat is the wag of your tail.

© Michael J. Rosen. All rights reserved.

If you've ever been to Michael J. Rosen's website, you might get the sense that he likes dogs a wee bit. In fact, there he describes himself not as a philosopher but as a self-proclaimed fidosopher. If you've never been to his site, you've probably gotten the same sense from today's poem. As a fellow dog lover, I read this poem and think "Yeah! What he said!" I can offer no higher praise... though I admit I'm also filled with the urge to go on a walk around the block.

Earlier this year, Chanukah Lights, a book Michael wrote and Robert Sabuda paper-engineered, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category. If you haven't seen and read this book, you really must: it is history brought to life with words and art that are perfectly suited for each other.  Then changing gears from that and dogs... his upcoming book (upcoming as in Thursday!), Running With Trains, is a novel in poetry and two voices, something that sounds both challenging to write and intriguing to read. I know I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it, and I also know I'm thrilled to have Michael J. Rosen here today as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday Lorraine Marwood gave us Cockatoo: a Portrait. Tomorrow... Riddle me, Riddle me by Helen Frost! For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.


Liz Brownlee said...

As another dog-owner-lover, FABULOUS.
My dog, lola, is also my service dog - she alerts me to low blood sugar as i have no warning symptoms. so she is also my Lifesaver.

K-Sue said...

One of the best poems I have ever read!

tanita✿davis said...

Awww. This reminds me of Christopher Smart's cat, Jeffrey...

Linda B said...

I will share this with my brother, also the biggest dog lover. How beautiful is the poem, & like you wrote-"yeh, what he said!" The train book sounds interesting too, maybe similar to Same Sun Here, only poetry. thanks Greg!

Anonymous said...

I'm loving all the poems I'm finding here this month but I have to admit, I've got a soft spot for this one. It just hasn't been the same around my desk, now that Sally the Crazy Dog is gone. And what Michael J. Rosen said is why.

Charles Waters said...

What a craftsman Michael is. Rosen Power!!!!!

Sandy Brehl said...

Love each and every contribution, but I especially enjoy the info and links to poets or titles that have slipped past my radar.
This poem will be shared with so many I know who feel as we do about dogs. One friend just lost her 14 year furry friend and a copy has already been slipped in her card.
Now to Rosen's site to thank him personally...

Michael J. Rosen said...

Liz, K-Sue, Tanita, Linda, Cathy, Charles, Sandy—and, of course, Greg!—thank you so much for "singing along," for sharing my paean to pooches. So honored to have your generous words.
Here's to all the beloved companions who share some part of our lives. Again, many thanks, MJR

Skleimbach said...

My heart. Xoxox

Amy LV said...

I wag my tail in delight over this one! And so do our dogs - Cali and Sage. Now to send this joyful romp to my mom, who loves her own Max in this very same way. Thank you! a.

April Halprin Wayland said...

I love the tenderness in each beat of this poem, Michael.

Thank you, Greg, for bringing us such richness every April (well, always, actually) ~


Robyn Hood Black said...

Anyone who's ever loved a dog (and been loved by one) will nod along with this poem - such a perfect tribute. Thanks, Greg and Michael (and congrats on the newest book this week). Awwroooooo! said...

Fabulous doggy poem!

jama said...


Best dog poem, ever. ♥

Charles Waters said...

That my friends is a Epic poem. It was doggone good!