May. 22nd, 2005

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For some reason this passage really resonated for me in 8th grade English class. It was one of the handouts that I read and reread, highlighted in several different colors, and filled the margins of. I wonder if I'll ever find that copy?

"Staying Alive" by Mary Oliver (exerpt)

"We are walking along the path, my dog and I, in the blue half-light. My dog, no longer young, steps carefully on the icy path, until he catches the scent of the fox. This morning the fox runs out onto the frozen pond, and my dog follows. I stand and watch them. The ice prevents either animal from getting a good toe-grip, so they move with the big-hearted and curvaceous motions of running, but in slow motion. All the way across they stay the same distance apart—the fox can go no faster, neither can my long-legged old dog, who will ache from this for a week. The scene is original and pretty as a dream. But I am wide awake. Then the fox vanishes among the yellow weeds on the far side of the pond, and my dog comes back, panting.

I believe everything has a soul.


A summer day—I was twelve or thirteen; at my cousins' house, in the country. They had a fox, collared and on a chain, in a little yard beside the house. All afternoon all afternoon all afternoon it kept—

Once I saw a fox, in an acre of cranberries, leaping and pouncing, leaping and pouncing, leaping and falling back, its forelegs merrily slapping the air as it tried to tap a yellow butterfly with its thin black forefeet, the butterfly fluttering just out of reach all across the deep green gloss and plush of the sweet-smelling bog.

—it kept running back and forth, trembling and chattering."
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As a beauty I'm not a great star
There are others more handsome by far.
But my face - I don't mind it
For I am behind it.
It's the people in front get the jar.

by Anthony Henderson Euwer


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