Friday, April 28, 2017

The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz • National Poetry Month

The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz

As if there could be a world 
Of absolute innocence 
In which we forget ourselves 

The owners throw sticks 
And half-bald tennis balls 
Toward the surf 
And the happy dogs leap after them 
As if catapulted— 

Black dogs, tan dogs, 
Tubes of glorious muscle— 

Pursuing pleasure 
More than obedience 
They race, skid to a halt in the wet sand, 
Sometimes they'll plunge straight into 
The foaming breakers 

Like diving birds, letting the green turbulence 
Toss them, until they snap and sink 

Teeth into floating wood 
Then bound back to their owners 
Shining wet, with passionate speed 
For nothing, 
For absolutely nothing but joy.

by Alicia Ostriker
from Poems Selected and New, 1968–1998
Courtesy of Poetry Foundation

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