Billy Collins: Two poems about what dogs think (probably)

What must our dogs be thinking when they look at us? Poet Billy Collins imagines the inner lives of two very different companions. It’s a charming short talk, perfect for taking a break and dreaming …

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Comment (85)

  1. This is stupid! the first one; dogs have no concept the length of lifetimes, and the second dog; any vet would tell you that dogs do sometimes have depression, but it tends to be quite obvious. stupid arty bullshit!

  2. Here's what ALL dogs think:  That human gives me food, I won't bite him, I will wag my tail. That human doesn't give me food, I'll take a nap.

  3. My dog Bash, is 3 and full of life. He's good. Seriously this guy makes me laugh nearly every day and I can tell he enjoys it. I'm not sure what that say's about him or me but I sure am grateful and I enjoy making him happy. Bash, is good people. He's informed by more than instinct and experience it seems.

  4. Here's what I imagine most dogs think "OH HI! How are you, hi! Let's be friends, wanna be friends? We're friends. Hey what's that over there? Wanna go on a walk?  Wanna give me food?  Oh, what's that there?"

  5. Reading the comments, I see some people have no appreciation for anthropomorphizing & somewhat whimsical humor. Yes, we must always be serious & literally accurate. Especially poetry should not be allowed to be funny or contradict our assumptions, including about what animals "think of us." These poems were as much about people as about dogs, & as such, were right on target. That's why they're funny. One of my favorite Billy Collins poems about a dog is called "Dharma." See The Best American Poetry 1999. I bet the negative critics won't bother, because they don't actually read or like good poetry. Well done, Mr. Collins. Thank you.

  6. "… that everyone here can read and write
    the dogs in poetry, the cats
    and all the others in prose."
    Haha, nice dig at the dominance of prose and at cats & humans, and a claim of superiority for poetry & dogs—consistent with the conceit that the poem was written by a dog. Love his poems that take you to a place by the end that is unexpected or says more than the topic originally suggested.

  7. I believe most, if not all, non-human animals have more complex cognitive abilities than those for which most of us would give them credit. That being said, this was, at best, cute; at worst, disrespectful. There should be no "probably" in the title – only "perhaps", maybe – because we cannot say for sure what they think, and this is an unjustified anthropomorphisation of a dog's potential thoughts.

    Also, not sure why it's a TED Talk…

  8. You ban Graham Hancock ..who has YEARS of REAL RESEARCH about humanities past & future…..You put on that scumbag Bill Gates on how his vaccines are hopefully killing enough people…….Then you reduce yourself down to this guy? Just entertaining the masses? You think we are dumb? You are trucking idiots to think your followers would be interested in this garbage.

  9. This was horrible. I saw something in my facebook feed about 6 TED talks for dog lovers. I had to put my dog to sleep yesterday and the second one is all about how much the dog hated their human. It was awful.

  10. Lmfao explaining my thoughts on this.. I find no end… like howling at the moon when nature calls.. I do not think of what I am.. something a dawg never does is morph into a man like I do.. some say I never have.. what memories.. what dreams.. the dawg has no buisness being explained by people.. and definitely not you

  11. Can we please appreciate the satire of the last poem? Billy Collins, if you should ever see this, can you please confirm or deny if you have ever had a dog, and, if you did, did they occasionally look at you disdainfully? What made you think of the topic for the last poem?

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