[Henceforth, the series formerly know as Friday poetry shall be called Friday Soul, in recognition of the fact that I may at some stage elect to feature something other than poetry. But don’t be alarmed, I don’t see the general theme changing much. Today we have Billy Collins. a uniquely upbeat poet — at last until his last volume — who has the distinction of being the only poet who has ever caused me to actually wake my wife from peaceful slumber because I was shaking with silent laughter while sitting in bed reading. This was not the poem that caused that incident.]

Billy Collins

The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance —
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Ghandi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.

About Emmett Duffy

I am a Natural Patriot and an ecologist with expertise in biodiversity and its importance to human society. My day job is Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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