I clearly have no idea of the breed of Mary Oliver’s dog, Percy, who has inspired several of her poems. I like to think of him as a springer spaniel, all bounce and silky ears.

Here are a couple of them which are springing to my mind today, after all my recent heart-searching:

Percy (Nine)

Your friend is coming I say
to Percy, and name a name

and he runs to the door, his
wide mouth in its laugh-shape,

and waves, since he has one, his tail.
Emerson, I am trying to live,

as you said we must, the examined life.
But there are days I wish

there was less in my head to examine,
not to speak of the busy heart. How

would it be to be Percy, I wonder, not
thinking, not weighing anything, just running forward.

and: I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life (Ten)

Love, love, love, says Percy.
And run as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.


15 months sober today.