The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog by Robert Bly

I haven’t been sleeping. I keep thinking of the road I am not going to take, and of the light slowly fading, a kind of now-or-never thing, you see, and I can’t move and I am swallowed by panic.

What do you think of delays? Are they fortuitous events that should be respected or a bunch of hijackers that must be challenged at all costs?

And what of retreats? Does it mean that you’re a coward after all? Or that it is only pragmatic to fight another day?

I may be the wrong person for my life — I read that somewhere. I told myself, do not be a fuckwit, and yet here I am.

Here’s the thing: what if this is what I was preparing for, only I was too busy looking for a colossal disaster somewhere else? What if this was the test and I’m failing it spectacularly?

The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog
Robert Bly

I never intended to have this life, believe me—
It just happened. You know how dogs turn up
At a farm, and they wag but can’t explain.

It’s good if you can accept your life—you’ll notice
Your face has become deranged trying to adjust
To it. Your face thought your life would look

Like your bedroom mirror when you were ten.
That was a clear river touched by mountain wind.
Even your parents can’t believe how much you’ve changed.

Sparrows in winter, if you’ve ever held one, all feathers,
Burst out of your hand with a fiery glee.
You see them later in hedges. Teachers praise you,

But you can’t quite get back to the winter sparrow.
Your life is a dog. He’s been hungry for miles,
Doesn’t particularly like you, but gives up, and comes in.



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  2. I say–set your sights on the road taken, and let your feet find the sunny side of that street. Fret less, celebrate more, and sleep peacefully in the knowledge that what got you here will carry you forward.

  3. You speak of the road not taken: do you remember the irony in the poem?

    Life, I think, works out for you, or doesn’t. As to the former, my sentiment can only be: “Hooray!”; as to the latter, who can ever say?

    More in time, T.

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