Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Fido Poetics

"You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell." ~Emily Dickinson

I didn't realize that Emily had a fondness for dogs. Though it is perhaps not surprising to me that she speaks of them in more endearing terms than fellow man. They seem to be able to sit for long periods of time and simply consume (I'm talking about take in - not eat) their surroundings.

So what is Dickinson really saying here? Well, I'm going to surmise that she rather likes Fido because he sees- he takes in and knows, but holding that within is sufficiently satisfying.

Now, someone go ahead and tell me she meant something all together different. I don't really care to argue the point one way or another, so you are welcome to your own explanation, but to me it is all quite amusing. I can picture Emily Dickinson and her four legged friend sharing the commonality of poetic thought. They glance at each other, say absolutely nothing, but they both understand the other's knowledge. None of this Lassie runs down the road backing... "What? Hold on Lassie... You say Timmy has fallen in the well? OK, I'm coming girl."

Sometimes I think where art and nature are concerned we all have to start with a Fido moment. Take it in. Let it just be. Once it has settled in long enough.... we can then do what differentiates man and woman from dog. Having processed all of something we can.... put it in a visual. A picture, a sculpture, a poem. The human inclination is to input / output. Pardon the expression but the morning breakfast becomes the afternoon waste.
Humans have an intellectual component that is unique but often hurry to use it with less than desirable results. . Dogs can teach us a lot.
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