WHY DO I BARK
A man who asks the question, “Why am I?”
is like a dog who asks, “Why do I bark?”
except that dogs have masters who say why
they love the dog, and take it to the park,
whereas the man who asks what’s asked above
has got no master who will answer any
questions he may ask. The answer, “Love,”
may be the best, for I can’t think of many.
Charles Simic has just been appointed the US’s fifteenth poet laureate. A good choice, I say, since he once sent me a postcard with his photo and warmly commended a few poems I had sent him. Moto Rich writes in the NYT, August 2, 2007 (“Charles Simic, Surrealist with Dark View, Is Named Poet Laureate”):
Mr. Billington said he admired Mr. Simic’s work because it was “both accessible and deep,” adding that “the lines are memorable.” He referred to a stanza from “My Turn to Confess,” a poem from Mr. Simic’s 2005 collection, “My Noiseless Entourage,” also published by Harcourt:
James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, will announce Mr. Simic’s appointment. Mr. Billington said he chose Mr. Simic from a short list of 15 poets because of “the rather stunning and original quality of his poetry,” adding: “He’s very hard to describe, and that’s a great tribute to him. His poems have a sequence that you encounter in dreams, and therefore they have a reality that does not correspond to the reality that we perceive with our eyes and ears.” Mr. Simic, speaking by telephone from his home in Strafford, N.H., described himself as a “city poet” because he has “lived in cities all of my life, except for the last 35 years.” Before settling into academia, he held a number of jobs in New York, including bookkeeping, bookselling and shirt sales. He originally wanted to be a painter, he said, until “I realized that I had no talent.”
A dog trying to write a poem on why he barks,
That’s me, dear reader!
They were about to kick me out of the library
But I warned them,
My master is invisible and all-powerful.
Still they kept dragging me out by the tail.
I revised this poem on 1/30/10 while reading many of my poems with my grandson Darius, who is amazed that his grandfather has written more than 7,350 poems. This poem in # 4859.