Archived Story

Saying hello with a smile rather than a bark

Published 5:00pm Saturday, July 16, 2011

“The possibility of our communion away from the material world fascinated me as a kind of revelation of intellectual paradise.” — Louise R. Hawkins (one time close friend to Richard Eberhart, a poet originating from Austin)

Mello is ready to close shop sitting on the couch beside me. A few minutes ago she belted out some strong barks as the Simonsons walked by with their dog. I’m hoping Mello will begin to greet passersby with a smile someday.

The other day we took Mello out of town to purchase some dog food that she enjoys and later took her to the dog park on the edge of Rochester where a few dogs played. Mello made it her duty to greet them.

It’s been awhile since I shared one of Eugene J. McCarthy’s “Selected Poems” titled My Lai Conversation where he asks:

“How old are you, small Vietnamese boy?

Six fingers. Six years

Why did you carry water to the wounded soldier, now dead?

Your father

Your father was enemy of free world

You also now are enemy of free world.

Who told you to carry water to your father?

Your mother!

Your mother is also enemy of free world

You go into ditch with your mother.

American politician has said, “It is better to kill you as a boy in the elephant grass of Vietnam

Than to have to kill you as a man in the rye grass in the USA.”

You understand.

It is easier to die

Where you know the names of the birds, the trees and the grass

Than in a strange country.

You will be number 128 in the body count for today.

High body count will make the Commander-in-Chief of free world much encouraged.

Good-bye, small six-year-old Vietnamese boy, enemy of free world.”

In his Selected Poems I also found an article titled “Too bad GOP had no McCarthy in 2004.” There were three letters following his death. Mine read: “On Saturday the United States lost one of its finest statesmen, Minnesota’s own Eugene McCarthy, one of the first to speak out against the Vietnam conflict, saying, ‘as it went on, you could tell people running it didn’t know what was going on.’”


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