Poetry Sunday: Barking

Jim Harrison died last weekend. He was a prolific writer of many books, including his latest, The Ancient Minstrel, which had just been published in March. His best known work was undoubtedly Legends of the Fall. 

In addition to essays and long and short works of fiction, Harrison was also a poet of some renown. Whatever he wrote, he wrote it with passion. By all accounts, he lived a lusty and full life and most likely had little to regret at the end of it.

This is one of his better known poems and it feels particularly appropriate to feature it as this week's poem of the week. It seems to feature a narrator who is looking back on his life after his death - a death that came just as spring had begun to "bring new birds up from Mexico."


The moon comes up. 
The moon goes down. 
This is to inform you 
that I didn't die young. 
Age swept past me 
but I caught up. 
Spring has begun here and each day 
brings new birds up from Mexico. 
Yesterday I got a call from the outside 
world but I said no in thunder. 
I was a dog on a short chain 
and now there's no chain.


  1. Nice! I think if you have liked any of Jim Harrison's novels you could read The Vegetarian.

    1. Interesting. Perhaps I'll add it to my (very long) list.

  2. thank you appreciate this

  3. Birds coming from Mexico...I like that, I also like the image of the dog with no chain at all; freedom at last!

    1. Death sets one free, I suppose. The man had an amazing ability to express ideas through his imagery.


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