Friday, June 4, 2010

All Dogs, Including Sylvia, Just Gotta Bark

By Anne Sullivan

“Now, Sylvia,” I said yesterday as we took our morning walk to gather pine cones and branches for the coming winter’s fires. Winter was sure to start with a snowstorm right after Labor Day and Boy Scouts aren’t the only ones who believe in being prepared. “What on earth were you barking about all night long? I barely got an hour’s sleep.”
“Surely you exaggerate,” she said. “However, since you ask, I really can’t remember exactly what it was all about. I’m very tired. You have no idea how exhausting it is to bark for hours. Not every one could do it. I do know it was something important, something very suspicious, something vital to our survival. Probably something big was about to attack us.”
“I see,” I said through gritted teeth. “I guess I owe you a vote of thanks for saving us.”
“It was nothing, boss,” she said with undue cheer. “I’d do it for you anytime.”
We trudged on through the ponderosas as I slipped the pine cones Sylvia brought to me into a garbage bag.
“How many dogs write poetry?” Sylvia asked out of the blue.
“I don’t know. Surely some,” I replied. “There are more dogs than you could shake a stick at writing books these days.”
“Hmm,” muttered Sylvia who was surprisingly silent the rest of our walk.
When we were back home Sylvia asked for pen and paper. When delivered, she disappeared into her house on the porch for quite some time.
An hour or thereabouts passed before Sylvia entered the world again, the paper clutched in her teeth. She deposited this in my lap saying only “Here.”
And this is what she wrote:

I’ve gotta bark.
What a lark.
Bark, bark.

You wonder why
I’ve gotta bark.
It’s a lark.
Bark, bark.

I’ve gotta bark
Nobody knows.
It’s a dog thing.
Bark, bark.

All night long
I’ve gotta bark
As soon as it’s dark
Bark, bark.

I’ll never stop
Until I drop.
It’s a real lark.
Bark, bark.

I don’t gotta bark.
I’ve made my mark.
What a lark.
Bark, bark.

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