On the Spiritual Wisdom of Dogs

(Last year I slipped on the loft stairs and bruised or broke a couple ribs. On top of that I got the flu. Yes, you may well just imagine.  As I lay on the couch for days trying not to cough or throw up, Phoebe lay with me. Her presence was so tuned into me, so loving, that I wrote this poem about her, and any dog’s special capacity for empathy and love.)

She does not talk like Buddha
And yet
She thinks like him
No need to pose Zen puzzles
She takes my socks
With wolfish smile
And hides them.

Then too

She does not pontificate
Like Popes
Nor dwell upon past sins
But lets rest upon her sinewed neck
All human wail
And wordless
Wept confession.

Nor has she the sentiment
of Angels
She does not pity the dove or it’s song
But has joy of her meat and sanctifies
The offering
With tooth
And tongue.

Her cathedrals are not of stone
Or texts
They are devoutly read intersections
Life sung on scented notes
Devout nose
Sniffing out


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