Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen the movie The Revenant, I’m not going to ruin it for you.
There are scenes in The Revenant that are impossible to conceive how the director orchestrated, the actor acted, and the cinematographer crafted, even after you’ve read how it was done. It’s that incredible. It’s like when you are looking for your car keys and they’re not in the drawer you always put them in, yet when your search comes up empty you check that drawer over and over again.
I am, however, going to shine some light on Billy Collin’s The Revenant from his collection The Trouble With Poetry.
Today I paged through the collection and I didn’t remember his poem The Revenant about a dog put to sleep by her owner. I picture an aging Golden Retriever in the first stanza telling her owner:
… come back to tell you this one simple thing:
I never liked you–not one bit.
The second stanza is even better:
When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.
I pictured my imaginary Golden smiling when she tells her owner:
I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched. (Reminded me of Changing Lucy)
Our cherished Golden ends by telling this heartless bastard of an owner:
Now that I am free of the collar
… this is all that you need to know about this place
that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and all the others in prose.
I’ve moved on to Tony Hoagland, Anne Sexton, Greg Pardlo, but something about Billy Collins’ work always pulls me back to the simple truths about this crazy party we call life.