Shortly after being appointed United States Poet Laureate in 2001, Billy Collins created a website, www.gov/poetry/180 to give young people "the notion that poetry can be a part of everyday life as well as a subject to be studied in the classroom. On the website, I ask high school teachers and administrators to adopt the program by having a new poem read every day -- one for each of the roughly 180 days of the school year -- as part of the public announcements," either read over a PA system or in school assembly or in each class. The idea was that students could hear poetry daily without feeling it was something to be "studied," just enjoyed for the pleasure it brought.
Those poem have been collected into two wonderful paperbacks edited by Collins, called, "Poetry 180" and "180 More." They feature a wide variety of new voices, all brought together in two volumes, so you too can have a poem a day. This one is from "180 More" and is by David Graham.
The Dogs in Dutch Paintings
How shall I not love them, snoozing
right through the Annunciation? They inhabit
the outskirts of every importance, sprawl
dead center in each oblivious household.
They're digging at fleas or snapping at scraps,
dozing with nobel abandon while a boy
bells their tails. Often they present their rumps
in the foreground of some martyrdom.
What Christ could lean so unconcernedly
against a table leg, the feast above continuing?
Could the Virgin in her joy match this grace
as a hound sagely ponders an upturned turtle?
No scholar at his huge book will capture
my eye so well as the skinny haunches,
the frazzled tails and serene optimism
of the least of these mutts, curled
in the corners of the world's dazzlement.