following the black dog

It is not often as a reader of poetry that I encounter a poem built entirely of pure metaphor; where all pretext and embellishment have been gently sanded away. Here is such a poem, By Dark by W.S. Merwin.

When it is time I follow the black dog
into the darkness that is the mind of day

I tell you, settling into words like those is like taking hold of a banister worn smooth by countless hands. There is no question, we are going up. And he has my full attention and emotional investment in the first dyad.

When it is time for what, other than the following?

Where is the darkness? And why – how – is it the mind of day?

I’ll leave it to you, following your own black dog. Or maybe you’ll chose a blue one.

1 thought on “following the black dog

  1. i suppose it can be interpreted in may different ways. as the owner of a small (mostly) black dog, who's evening routine consists of curling up against me and falling asleep for the night, i prefer to think of the darkness as being sleep and for me, the time is that point when i can no longer keep my eyes open. 🙂

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