Sometimes I read a poem and feel like it is a secret, special message for me or someone in my life. It's usually the narrator's voice that pulls me in, that makes me feel like there is a piece of myself coexisting in someone else. It sets my insides aflutter in the way few things can.
This one made me think of my sister-in-law. She really loves animals, and not because they are cute, like most people do. I think she really respects them in the way the poet describes. I could almost see her drinking tea (freshly-picked) in her kitchen, looking out the window at her big gorgeous dogs, her wild little kittens, and her horses with their tails swaying.
She is a really wonderful person, and I miss her. Thank god for the internet.
Returning to Earth
by Jim Harrison
I'm getting very old. If I were a mutt
in dog years I'd be seven, not stray so far.
I am large. Tarpon my age are often large
but they are inescapably fish. A porpoise
my age was the King of New Guinea in 1343.
Perhaps I am the king of my dogs, cats, horses
but I have dropped any notion of explaining
to them why I read so much. To be mysterious
is a prerogative of kingship. I discovered
lately that my subjects do not live a life,
but are life itself. They do not recognize
the pain of the schizophrenia of kingship.
To them I am pretty much a fellow creature.
From The Shape of the Journey: New & Collected Poems. Copper Canyon Press.