What would Fido say about you? This community poem takes pets' point of view
We asked and your pets answered.
NPR poet-in-residence Kwame Alexander shares his latest community crowd sourced poem from pet owners around the country, from ages six to 86.
We heard from over 700 of you, sharing the words of what your pets might be thinking about you, their next meals, their next adventures, their next cuddles and more.
Read Alexander's poem, titled Dear Captor: You Talk, I Wonder.
Hi, My name is Larry Longshanks
And for my folks I give thanks.
My name is Leo and I am a dog
Once I was let outside to almost eat a frog
Fluffy, the pre-school hamster
I am the 6th to bear the name.
I try to live my life with dignity and grace, resigned to my fate.
But some day, when one of them takes me home,
I swear I will make my escape.
It's dark and cold. I can hear the other prisoners barking.
I don't begrudge you that last trip to the vet four days ago.
The women fed me remarkable treats.
My needs are so few:
Food, water, toys, and outdoors
A clean litter box
I am a stinky dog.
I lick, jump, eat everything
I sniff, I pee
I smell every tree
Who was here before
Sharp and soft in your residential jungle, dear captor, I listen to your whispering eyelash and your swishing pulse, but I hear beyond: scraping step of ladybug, a moth's powdery wing, delicate spider dances.
You talk, I wonder: Would you notice each sky if I weren't there to get you outside?
I can't tell you about my life before
Just as well, I don't want you to be sad
Despite her many clocks,
the woman forgot the hour constantly.
Always saying "It's not time yet" when clearly my bowl was empty, and I was perishing before her eyes.
Dad threatened to make me into a stew; Then came back with carrot tops and treats anew;
And those boys were so loud
Always stomping and screaming
We wished them to be quiet
So we could go back to dreaming
They got to eat biscuits and gravy
All we ever got were dried flakes
We'd love something more tasty
How 'bout some potato pancakes?
Now, I am partnered with a foolish woman who doesn't understand that threats are everywhere.
She naively walks past dogs who might lunge up and rip into her throat. She ignores plastic bags dancing in the wind that can cover her face as she fights for breath.
She doesn't run very fast
She always hears the mailman last
And I don't think her sense of smell is working very well
She walks on clumsy feet, her head floats in the air,
She can't meow and has no fur and doesn't seem to care
that when she sings her nonsense words and baby-talks my name
I look at her politely then must close my eyes in shame
She calls me wiggle butt.
And cuddle bug.
At this point I just come to anything
Because it might mean food.
Or a walk.
Curled up like a doughnut,
I wait patiently for my family
I will spend my life keeping her safe. It is the burden I bear.
Once wild and free, now safe and sound
In a new home, joy and love have been found
Gone are the days of hunting and fear
Now, a life of comfort and cheer
Thank you, kind soul, for giving a chance
This lap-seeking, freaky-in-the best-way love pillow
Stands. Sits. Lies ready to serve you. I humbly suggest
That you toss aside your tiresome worries
Along with my worn-out tennis balls.
Come join me in a communal sofa-soft delight.
I'm here to listen to your every thought. Wish. Dream.
I am, however, worried, sometimes
That you have forgotten about dinner.
(I never forget about dinner.)
Today I won an apple for a prize
For jumping the best
Next I go back to my stall to rest
Eventually it's lunch time
My dinner is gone, oh, woe is me
I ate it all so greedily.
I yowl with grief, impossible to ignore
But my people will not give me more.
No crunchy kibble, no tasty bits
It's enough to give me fits.
When my water bowl is dry
I think that I will surely die –
But when mom pets my ears
I forget all my fears –
You're home! You're home!
You were gone, and I thought the wait would never end.
How long has it been —
A minute? An hour? A day? A week?
I gotta go; I gotta go; I gotta go
What is it about this he doesn't understand?
I am being clear here about my needs
Why doesn't he get the leash?
For 15 years you've given me such cozy nests.
Although I can no longer leap tall fences (or even get on the couch)
or bring late night comatose possums in to wake up on your rug,
I still love the days of warm sunshine and
Evenings where we gaze into each other's eyes
From my comfy orthopedic bed.
She says I'm an angel in fur coat
That I carry her heart in mine
I don't know what that means
What I do know is that
you loved me from the minute you rescued me
running away scares you to death ... but I cannot help it
I am full of sass and argumentative
your right arm is now longer than your left from five years of pulling on lead
I get overwhelmed with excitement when we have company
I cannot help myself when the resident squirrel runs our fence line
I am addicted to butter
it makes you laugh when I come from behind, between your knees, and look up at you
you are happy and content when we are together
One day dear human I will write for you a tome.
For now you will have to make due with this poem.
You live for me and me alone.
HEY! Where's my bone?!?
This community poem was created using submissions by:
Patricia Kessel, Portland, Ore.
Pranathi Srini, Tustin, Calif.
Noah Holmes, Aurora, Ohio
Heather Christianson, Sacramento, Calif.
Joanna Tapio, Chicago, Ill.
Elaina Hannigan, Corvallis, Ore.
Kim Bridgges, Richmond, Va.
Kimberly Whalen, Lakeville, Minn.
Jennifer Nunez, San Jose, Calif.
Judy Radlinsky, San Jose, Calif.
Margaret Bridges, Portland, Ore.
Betsy Shiroma, Ardsley, N.Y.
Jim Zeiger, Denver, Col.
David Bader, New York, N.Y.
Valerie Lim, Tucson, Ariz.
Harlan Shays, Raleigh, N.C.
Cecily Kiester, Wash.
Mary Rudzinski, Portland, Ore.
Stephanie Spencer, Vancouver, Wash.
Gregory Groth, Portsmouth, N.H.
Jan Crocker, Macon, Ga.
Carmen Kuziemsky, Buffalo, N.Y.
Claire Buttry, Longmont, Col.
Diane Peters-Nguyen, Kailua, Hawaii
Andy Lange, Overland Park, Kan.
Serene Dougan, Fairview, Ore.
Mary Alison Leatart, Bend, Ore.
Brook Rajnowski, Fort Collins, Col.
Joyce Cheng, Hillsboro, Ore.
Linda Muhlhausen, Middletown, N.J.
Theresa Norman, Edinburg, Texas
This poem was produced with help from Karan Chaudhary. Julie Depenbrock and Reena Advani produced and edited the audio story. Reena Advani and Rachel Treisman adapted it for the web.
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