Fooling With Words – Golden Retrievals

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind, Emotion & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

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“One of poetry’s greatest powers is its preservative ability to take a moment in time and make an attempt to hold onto it.”
~ Mark Doty

Poetry is one of my great loves for how it often captures what is beyond words, and in that great paradox, captures it with words. Poetry connects us through the common experience of our humanity. When I meet a good poem, it drops me into a deep presence and appreciation for a moment in time.

I recently discovered the poet, Mark Doty, in a book by Bill Moyers, Fooling With Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft. This book is a collection of several interviews at the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey. Originally a video documentary, it has been transcribed into a book.

For anyone who has had a dog, there are innumerable lessons that our canine friends can teach us about being human. Here is a lesson on being in the moment. This poem was written for Unleashed, an anthology of poems from the voice of the writer’s dog. Here is Golden Retrivals by Mark Doty.

Golden Retrivals
~by Mark Doty

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time, Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of anything thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back.

or else you’re off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof!), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.