Dog Songs Quotes

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Dog Songs Dog Songs by Mary Oliver
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Dog Songs Quotes Showing 1-28 of 28
“Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
tags: dogs
“You may not agree, you may not care, but
if you are holding this book you should know that of all the sights I love in this world — and there are plenty — very near the top of the list is this one: dogs without leashes.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“And it is exceedingly short, his galloping life. Dogs die so soon. I have my stories of that grief, no doubt many of you do also. It is almost a failure of will, a failure of love, to let them grow old—or so it feels. We would do anything to keep them with us, and to keep them young. The one gift we cannot give.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“A dog can never tell you what she knows from the
smells of the world, but you know, watching her,
that you know
almost nothing.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“EVERY DOG’S STORY

I have a bed, my very own.
It’s just my size.
And sometimes I like to sleep alone
with dreams inside my eyes.

But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy
and I wake and am afraid, though I don’t know why.
But I’m no longer sleepy
and too slowly the hours go by.

So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon
is shining on your face
and I know it will be morning soon.

Everybody needs a safe place.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“We meet wonderful people, but lose them
in our busyness.
We’re, as the saying goes, all over the place.
Steadfastness, it seems,
is more about dogs than about us.
One of the reasons we love them so much.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Listen, whatever you see and love—
that’s where you are.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
tags: home, love
“Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Be prepared. A dog is adorable and noble.
A dog is a true and loving friend. A dog
is also a hedonist.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Here’s a story, and you don’t have to visit many
houses to find it. One person is talking,
the other one is not really listening.
Someone can look like they are but they’re
actually thinking about something they
want to say, or their minds are just
wandering. Or they’re looking at that
little box people hold in their hands these
days. And people get discouraged, so they
quit trying. And the very quiet people,
you may have noticed, are often the sad
people.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“But I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also all the good attachments to that origin that we can keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its graceful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the senses, and the beauty of forest and ocean and rain and our own breath. There is not a dog that romps and runs but we learn from him.

The other dog—the one that all its life walks leashed and obedient down the sidewalk—is what a chair is to a tree. It is a possession only, the ornament of a human life. Such dogs can remind us of nothing large or noble or mysterious or lost. They cannot make us sweeter or more kind.

Only unleashed dogs can do that. They are a kind of poetry themselves when they are devoted not only to us but to the wet night, to the moon and the rabbit-smell in the grass and their own bodies leaping forward.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“You’re like a little wild thing
that was never sent to school.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Some things are unchangeably wild, others are stolidly tame. The tiger is wild, and the coyote, and the owl. I am tame, you are tame. There are wild things that have been altered, but only into a semblance of tameness, it is no real change. But the dog lives in both worlds.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? Would would this would be like without dogs?”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“I had to go away for a few days so I called the kennel and made an appointment. I guess Bear overheard the conversation. “Love and company,” said Bear, “are the adornments that change everything. I know they’ll be nice to me, but I’ll be sad, sad, sad.” And pitifully he wrung his paws. I cancelled the trip.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Okay, I said. But remember, you can’t fix
everything in the world for everybody.

“However,” said Ricky, “you can’t do
anything at all unless you begin. Haven’t
I heard you say that once or twice, or
maybe a hundred times?”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Or maybe it’s about the wonderful things that may happen if you break the ropes that are holding you.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“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.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
tags: life
“I had a dog
who loved flowers.
Briskly she went
through the fields,

yet paused
for the honeysuckle
or the rose,
her dark head

and her wet nose
touching
the face
of every one

with its petals
of silk,
with its fragrance
rising

into the air
where the bees,
their bodies
heavy with pollen,

hovered—
and easily
she adored
every blossom,

not in the serious,
careful way
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom—

the way we praise or don’t praise—
the way we love
or don’t love—
but the way

we long to be—
that happy
in the heaven of earth—
that wild, that loving.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“No, I mean really listen. Here's a
story, and you don't have to visit many
houses to find it. One person is talking,
the other one is not really listening.
someone can look like they are but they're
actually thinking about something they
want to say, or their minds are just
wandering. Or they're looking at that
little box people hold in their hands these
days. And people get discouraged, so they
quit trying. And the very quiet people,
you may have noticed, are often the sad
people.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Summer Beach



Thunder that is still too far away for us to hear presses down on
Ben’s ears and he wakes us and leans hot and chesty first against
M., then against me, and listens to our slow, warm words that
mean we love him. But when the storm has passed, he is brave
again and wants to go out. We open the door and he glides away
without a backward glance. It is early, in the blue and grainy air
we can just see him running along the edge of the water, into the
first pink suggestion of sunrise. And we are caught by the old affinity,
a joyfulness - his great and seemly pleasure in the physical
world. Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is
no small gift…”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“THE POETRY TEACHER The university gave me a new, elegant classroom to teach in. Only one thing, they said. You can’t bring your dog. It’s in my contract, I said. (I had made sure of that.) We bargained and I moved to an old classroom in an old building. Propped the door open. Kept a bowl of water in the room. I could hear Ben among other voices barking, howling in the distance. Then they would all arrive— Ben, his pals, maybe an unknown dog or two, all of them thirsty and happy. They drank, they flung themselves down among the students. The students loved it. They all wrote thirsty, happy poems.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“And it is exceedingly short, his galloping life. Dogs die so soon. I have my stories of that grief, no doubt many of you do also. It is almost a failure of will, a failure of love, to let them grow old—or so it feels. We would do anything to keep them with us, and to keep them young. The one gift we cannot give.  •”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Dog Talk



I have seen Ben place his nose meticulously
into the shallow dampness of a deer’s hoofprint and shut his eyes
as if listening. But it is smell he is listening to. The wild, high
music of smell, that we know so little about.

Tonight Ben charges up the yard; Bear follows. They run into the
field and are gone. A soft wind, like a belt of silk, wraps the house.
I follow them to the end of the field where I hear the long-eared
owl, at wood’s edge, in one of the tall pines. All night the owl will
sit there inventing his catty racket, except when he opens pale
wings and drifts moth-like over the grass. I have seen both dogs
look up as the bird floats by, and I suppose the field mouse hears
it too, in the pebble of his tiny heart. Though I hear nothing.

Bear is small and white with a curly tail. He was meant to be idle
and pretty but learned instead to love the world, and to romp
roughly with the big dogs. The brotherliness of the two, Ben and
Bear, increases with each year. They have their separate habits,
their own favorite sleeping places, for example, yet each worries
without letup if the other is missing. They both bark rapturously
and in support of each other. They both sneeze to express plea-
sure, and yawn in humorous admittance of embarrassment. In the
car, when we are getting close to home and the smell of the ocean
begins to surround them, they both sit bolt upright and hum.

With what vigor
and intention to please himself
the little white dog
flings himself into every puddle
on the muddy road.

Somethings are unchangeably wild, others are stolid tame. The
tiger is wild, the coyote, and the owl. I am tame, you are
tame. The wild things that have been altered, but only into
a semblance of tameness, it is no real change. But the dog lives in
both worlds. Ben is devoted, he hates the door between us, is
afraid of separation. But he had, for a number of years, a dog
friend to whom he was also loyal. Every day they and a few others
gathered into a noisy gang, and some of their games were bloody.
Dog is docile, and then forgets. Dog promises then forgets. Voices
call him. Wolf faces appear in dreams. He finds himself running
over incredible lush or barren stretches of land, nothing any of us
has ever seen. Deep in the dream, his paws twitch, his lip lifts.
The dreaming dog leaps through the underbrush, enters the earth
through a narrow tunnel, and is home. The dog wakes and the
disturbance in his eyes when you say his name is a recognizable
cloud. How glad he is to see you, and he sneezes a little to tell
you so.

But ah! the falling-back, fading dream where he was almost
there again, in the pure, rocky weather-ruled beginning. Where
he was almost wild again, and knew nothing else but that life, no
other possibility. A world of trees and dogs and the white moon,
the nest, the breast, the heart-warming milk! The thick-mantled
ferocity at the end of the tunnel, known as father, a warrior he
himself would grow to be.

…”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Listen, whatever you see and love-
that's where you are.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Okay, I said. But remember, you can’t fix everything in the world for everybody. “However,” said Ricky, “you can’t do anything at all unless you begin.”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs