Pacheco and the Dogs

Another Great Poet Leaves Us

Another Great Poet Leaves Us

It is a well-known fact that poets don’t grow on trees. Belatedly, I am recognizing the death of José Emilio Pacheco, the Mexican poet who just recently died after a fall at the age of seventy-four. I am not familiar enough with Pacheco’s poetry—to be honest, I am not nearly familiar enough with poetry in general. I should read more, even though there is nothing that is more demanding—or rewarding. Take this simple example, called “A Dog’s Life”:

A Dog’s Life

We despise dogs for letting themselves
be trained, for learning to obey.
We fill the noun dog with rancor
to insult each other.
And it’s a miserable death
to die like a dog.

Yet dogs watch and listen
to what we can’t see or hear.
Lacking language
(or so we believe),
they have a talent we certainly lack.
And no doubt they think and know.

And so
they probably despise us
for our need to find masters,
for our pledge of allegiance to the strongest.

Thanks to Fred Runk, here is the Spanish text of the poem:

Despreciamos al perro dejarse
domesticar y ser obediente.
Llenamos de rencor sustanivo perro
para insultarmnos.
Y una muerte indigna
es morir como un perro.

Sin embargo los perros miran y eschucan
lo que no vemos ni escucharmos.
A falta de lenguaje
(o eso creemos)
poseen un don que ciertamente nos falta .
Y sin duda piensan y saben.

Asi pues,
resulta muy probable que nos desprecien
por nuestra necesidad de buscar amos,
poe nuestro voto de obediencia al mas fuerte.

Books To Be Buried With

Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler

I see they packed the volume of Shakespeare that he had near him when he died in a little tin box and buried it with him. If they had to bury it they should have either not packed it at all, or, at the least, in a box of silver-gilt. But his friends should have taken it out of the bed when they saw the end was near. It was not necessary to emphasize the fact that the ruling passion for posing was strong with him in death. If I am reading, say, Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday up to my last conscious hours, I trust my friends will take it out and put it in the waste-paper basket when they see I have no further use for it. If, however, they insist on burying it with me, say in an an old sardine-box, let them do it at their own risk, and may God remember it against them in that day.—Samuel Butler, Notebooks