Did you ever wonder what your pet thinks about you? Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins explores that question with his tongue-in-cheek poem entitled "The Revenant." In that poem Mr. Collins speaks for a dog who has been put to sleep by his owner. It is a funny piece that can't help but make you consider who you are from your pet's perspective.
I originally heard this poem on the radio a couple of years ago, and this past weekend the poet recited it on A Prairie Home Companion - much to the delight of the show's live audience.
by Billy Collins
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you--not one bit.
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and--greatest of insults--shake hands without a hand.
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all of my strength
not to raise my head and howl.
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place
and are glad it did not happen sooner--
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose.