Posts Tagged ‘dogs named max’

This Happy Now

January 20, 2015
Not Me and Max

Not Me and Max

As soon as Max sees me grab the leash, he goes into spasms of delight, jumping in the air and making little pirouettes. Joy. It’s not just for humans.

(I try not to say the word “walk” in front of Max unless I’m ready to take him for one. So in order not to tease him, I’ll say, “Maybe I’ll take Max for a ‘W-Word’ later this afternoon.”)

Like so many poets, Max is giddy for the natural world, and he cannot contain his enthusiasm for outside smells, sights, and sounds. And like Max, William Wordsworth began to cultivate his love of nature exploring “those few nooks to which my happy feet/ Were limited.”

Unlike so many human beings, however, Max is not overburdened by the demands of his quotidian existence. And I’m pretty sure he’s never given much thought to the meaning of life. It is therefore unlikely that Max could share with Mr. Wordsworth

                               That blessed mood
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world
Is lighten’d:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which affections gently lead us on,
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame,
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the things of life

But ecstasy also hurts. Wordsworth referred to such ecstatic moments as “spots of time.” Spots of time are often induced by nature, and as Sheldon W. Liebman explains, nature is “a domain in which the fundamental conditions of life are mixed, even paradoxical.” Ecstasy hurts because even in its thrall we realize that soon we will return to a world where

                               That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,

Once we get beyond joy “And all its dizzy raptures” we are once again confined to “The still, sad music of humanity”

In the poem “Hamlen Brook,” Richard Wilbur calls this phenomenon “joy’s trick.” (Collected Poems 115).

Confronted with the immense beauty of the natural world, Wilbur laments his inability to “drink all this”

Joy’s trick is to supply
Dry lips with what can cool and slake,
Leaving them dumbstruck also with an ache
Nothing can satisfy.

For his part, Robert Frost argues that “Happiness Makes Up In Height For What It Lacks In Length” (Collected Poems 445).

There are many moments in Frost’s poetry when

We went from house to wood
For change of solitude. (445)

And the trick for human beings is to appreciate this happy now on its own terms. Frost explains in “Two Look at Two” (283).

‘This must be all.’ It was all. Still they stood,
A great wave from it going over them,
As if the earth in one unlooked-for favor
Had made them certain earth returned their love.

by Richard W. Bray

Scoop

September 8, 2012


Who pooped?
You pooped
Guess I gotta scoop poop

Call dog
Haul dog
Happy you’re a small dog

Who pooped?
You pooped
Guess I gotta scoop poop

Feel fine
Canine
You ain’t gotta scoop mine

by Richard W. Bray

For All They Care

June 30, 2012

W. H. Auden

Which is more significant, a person or a star?

People could not exist without stars. Not only does our sun provide us with essential warmth, light, and sustenance, but astronomers believe that all solid matter, ourselves included, is made up of the debris from former stars.

Compared to a person, our abiding sun is surely great and grand. But as far as we can tell, a star is neither sentient nor alert to its own existence. So unlike a human being or even a shih-poo who responds to the name of Max, a star will never want for anything.

W. H. Auden ponders his unreciprocated affection for stars and correctly concludes that despite a star’s magnificence, between the two, the poet himself is ultimately “the more loving one.”

Thus human beings gaze at stars with a longing that the stars themselves could never “return.”

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,

And although the breadth of a star’s life is incomprehensible to a human being, a star is nonetheless ephemeral like everything else in our universe. (When the dividend is eternity, all quotients are miniscule.) Some day every star will “disappear or die.”

Getting back to my original question, is a star’s immense, blazing endurance a match for a human being’s cognizance and sensitivity? It’s a rhetorical question, of course. Even if it weren’t a false alternative, the answer would still lie beyond the scope of human imagination. We could not survive in a universe without stars, and as Richard Wilbur inquires,

How shall we dream of this place without us?–

For his part, Thomas Hardy maintains that the “disease of feeling” is overrated, and “all went well” prior to “the birth of consciousness,”

None suffered sickness, love, or loss,
None knew regret, starved hope, or heart-burnings;
None cared whatever crash or cross
Brought wrack to things.

If something ceased, no tongue bewailed,
If something winced and waned, no heart was wrung;
If brightness dimmed, and dark prevailed,
No sense was stung.

Auden is similarly cynical about the ultimate value of human sentimentality:

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total darkness sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

by Richard W. Bray

Max y Arroz Picoso (by richard)

December 22, 2011

Ingredients:

1 400 gram can of Zanahorias en Escabeche (Sliced Pickled Carrots with Jalapenos)
1 1/2 cups white rice (or brown rice if that’s what you’re into)
3 cups chicken broth
1 chopped bell pepper (or half a stalk chopped celery)
2 teaspoons olive oil

Directions:
Combine rice, vegetables and broth. Add oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until liquid disappears (approximately 20 minutes).