Your Dog Dies (Carver) (1 Viewer)

For my money, Raymond Carver's short stories -- and let's not even get into the attendant Gordon Lish editing controversy of late, which muddies the whole issue terribly -- are not always home runs; a few, scattered here and there, but mostly nice base runs (Cathedral and Kindling being two examples of my idea of Carver homers).

Carver's poetry, on the other hand, always strikes me as simply masterful. For some reason, I've been stuck on this one for months, perhaps because of what it says about the writing/creative process ...


it gets run over by a van.
you find it at the side of the road
and bury it.
you feel bad about it.
you feel bad personally,
but you feel bad for your daughter
because it was her pet,
and she loved it so.
she used to croon to it
and let it sleep in her bed.
you write a poem about it.
you call it a poem for your daughter,
about the dog getting run over by a van
and how you looked after it,
took it out into the woods
and buried it deep, deep,
and that poem turns out so good
you're almost glad the little dog
was run over, or else you'd never
have written that good poem.
then you sit down to write
a poem about writing a poem
about the death of that dog,
but while you're writing you
hear a woman scream
your name, your first name,
both syllables,
and your heart stops.
after a minute, you continue writing.
she screams again.
you wonder how long this can go on.
'cathedral' is one of my favourite stories, ever. 'a small, good thing' is also excellent. did anyone see jindabyne? it's an aussie movie loosely based on carver's story 'so much water so close to home'.
i liked the humour in the poem, Photograph of my father in his 25th year. that might not be the exact title. in the photo the father is holding a string of perch in one hand, and a bottle in the other, and there is bravado. Carver ends the poem something like,

"father, i love you. but how can i say
i thank you? i who can't hold my alcohol
either, and don't know the places to fish."

my little sister's dog died a couple of days ago,
so sad,
she was so sad,
I couldn't cheer her up,
that was a week ago,
she misses the dog,
she regained some happiness,
maybe she is teaching me something...

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