Sunday, May 10, 2009

South Beach watchdogs c. 1925

Vedra and Scotty, canine guards of the Ujlaki house at
43 Nugent Avenue, South Beach, Staten Island, c. 1925

What The Dog Perhaps Hears
by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Lisel Mueller

If an inaudible whistle
blown between our lips
can send him home to us,
then silence is perhaps
the sound of spiders breathing
and roots mining the earth;
it may be asparagus heaving,
headfirst, into the light
and the long brown sound
of cracked cups, when it happens.
We would like to ask the dog
if there is a continuous whir
because the child in the house
keeps growing, if the snake
really stretches full length
without a click and the sun
breaks through clouds without
a decibel of effort,
whether in autumn, when the trees
dry up their wells, there isn't a shudder
too high for us to hear.

What is it like up there
above the shut-off level
of our simple ears?
For us there was no birth cry,
the newborn bird is suddenly here,
the egg broken, the nest alive,
and we heard nothing when the world changed.

Lisel Mueller's poem is from the collection The need to hold still published by Louisiana University Press, 1980.

For more animal photographs visit the 13th Edition of footnoteMaven's Smile For The Camera Carnival whose theme is "All Creatures Great and Small".


  1. WOW! This poem was wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us. Also when you have a free in please stop by Where I Come From and pick up your Award.

  2. Wanted you to know I added you to my facebook and also to let you know that I have an award waiting for you. Stop by and pick it up.

  3. I printed this out for my poetry journal - thank you for the moment of reflection.


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