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Taking Off from an Old WCW Poem

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Imagine that — my last words
might have been spoken to the dog, she
who saved my life, it has been said, spoken
with no thought
of reply nor of understanding, a genial insult
maybe, a philosophical conundrum
posed aeons before any household pet ever
turned an ear. In the ambulance I made no remark
about trees nor how tired I was of them,
and in the second ambulance our dog’s heart
beat hard with terror.

Source: Poetry (April 2017)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Poetry magazine

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Taking Off from an Old WCW Poem

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  • Born in Penticton, British Columbia, Canadian poet, novelist, and editor George Bowering earned a BA and an MA at the University of British Columbia and completed graduate coursework at the University of Western Ontario. He served as an aerial photographer for the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1954 to 1957. Bowering’s unadorned lyric poems often engage the matter of daily and literary life. In a 2007 interview with Rachel Loden for Jacket Magazine, Bowering discussed how his approach to writing shifts based on the form he is working in, stating, “The different forms offer somewhat different good feelings. I like the dance of syllables when poetry is the thing. I squirm in my chair. I like the daily advance of the story or novel or essay. Writing an essay is a lot like writing a story. The sentence is what you want, the sentence that is very clear but mysterious...

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