“Dog” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself
Fish on newsprint
Ants in holes
Chickens in Chinatown windows
their heads a block away
The dog trots freely in the street
and the things he smells
smell something like himself
The dog trots freely in the street
past puddles and babies
cats and cigars
poolrooms and policemen
He doesn’t hate cops
He merely has no use for them
and he goes past them
and past the dead cows hung up whole
in front of the San Francisco Meat Market
He would rather eat a tender cow
than a tough policeman
though either might do
And he goes past the Romeo Ravioli Factory
and past Coit’s Tower
and past Congressman Doyle
He’s afraid of Coit’s Tower
but he’s not afraid of Congressman Doyle
although what he hears is very discouraging
very depressing
very absurd
to a sad young dog like himself
to a serious dog like himself
But he has his own free world to live in
His own fleas to eat
He will not be muzzled
Congressman Doyle is just another
fire hydrant
to him
The dog trots freely in the street
and has his own dog’s life to live
and to think about
and to reflect upon
touching and tasting and testing everything
investigating everything
without benefit of perjury
a real realist
with a real tale to tell
and a real tail to tell it with
a real live
                          democratic dog
engaged in real
                         free enterprise
with something to say
                                  about ontology
something to say
                          about reality
                                  and how to see it
                                                            and how to hear it
with his head cocked sideways
                                              at streetcorners
as if he is just about to have
                                              his picture taken
                                                                       for Victor Records
                                   listening for
                                                     His Master’s Voice
                     and looking
                                   like a living questionmark
                                                                 into the
                                                              great gramaphone
                                                       of puzzling existence
                     with its wondrous hollow horn
                               which always seems
                          just about to spout forth
                                                             some Victorious answer
                                                                        to everything


Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1919-2021

“Dog” from A Coney Island of the Mind: Poems
© 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Photo by Yamon Figurs on Unsplash

More Good Things

Seven Good Things is a weekly list of positivity & creativity. Get it delivered to your inbox every Friday.