Dog In Woods By TheGiantVermin

After an Illness, Walking the Dog by Jane Kenyon

Post Series: Poetry Thursday

After and Illness, Walking the Dog

Poem by Jane Kenyon


Wet things smell stronger,

and I suppose his main regret is that

he can sniff just one at a time.

In a frenzy of delight

he runs way up the sandy road–

scored by freshets after five days

of rain. Every pebble gleams, every leaf.


When I whistle he halts abruptly

and steps in a circle,

swings his extravagant tail.

Then he rolls and rubs his muzzle

in a particular place, while the drizzle

falls without cease, and Queen Anne’s lace

and Goldenrod bend low.


The top of the logging road stands open

and light. Another day, before

hunting starts, we’ll see how far it goes,

leaving word first at home.

The footing is ambiguous.


Soaked and muddy, the dog drops,

panting, and looks up with what amounts

to a grin. It’s so good to be uphill with him,

nicely winded, and looking down on the pond.


A sound commences in my left ear

like the sound of the sea in a shell;

a downward, vertiginous drag comes with it.

Time to head home. I wait

until we’re nearly out to the main road

to put him back on the leash, and he

–the designated optimist–

imagines to the end that he is free.


From Poetry October/November 1987

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