Billy Collins: What Do Our Dogs Really Think? A Poetic Possibility What do our dogs think when they look at us? Poet Billy Collins imagines the inner life of a former canine companion.
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What Do Our Dogs Really Think? A Poetic Possibility

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What Do Our Dogs Really Think? A Poetic Possibility

What Do Our Dogs Really Think? A Poetic Possibility

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you are wondering what your dog really thinks of you, the poet Billy Collins might have an answer because you wrote a poem about it and delivered it on the TED stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF TED TALK)

BILLY COLLINS: I am the dog you put to sleep, as you like to call the needle of oblivion, come back to tell you this simple thing - I never liked you.

(LAUGHTER)

COLLINS: When I licked your face, I thought of biting off your nose. When I watched you toweling yourself dry, I wanted to leap and un-man you with a snap. I resented the way you moved - your lack of animal grace, the way you would sit in a chair to eat, a napkin on your lap, a knife in your hand. I would have run away, but I was too weak - a trick you taught me while I was learning to sit and heal and greatest of insults - shake hands without a hand.

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. You do not want to believe this, but I have no reason to lie - I hated the car, hated the rubber toys, disliked your friends and worse, your relatives. The jingling of my tags drove me mad. You always scratched me in the wrong place. All I ever wanted from you was food and water in my bowls. While you slept I watched you breathe as the moon rose in the sky. It took all of my strength not to raise my head and howl.

Now I am free of the collar, free of the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater, the absurdity of your lawn. And that is all you need to know about this place, except what you already supposed and are glad it did not happen sooner - that everyone here can read and write. The dogs - in poetry. The cats and all the others - in prose. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

RAZ: Poet Billy Collins on the TED stage. His poem is called "The Revenant."

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