Daily Archives: September 11, 2022

The Best Stories

First of all
in the best stories
there must be a dog,
a noble hound.

There must also be a cat —
scruffy and streetwise with
mystery surrounding it.
And in many there will be

a bird, often an owl,
that is perhaps
not as smart
as it looks.

You will
pick your familiar
from among them —
almost no one takes the owl,

more’s the pity,
unless they make an assumption 
that its apparently slow intelligence
hides something more profound; let it be

dog or cat for you if you wish.
There is not a wrong choice
if truth be told, as it always is
in the best stories.

Now that you’ve taken leave
of your prosaic self
for a while,
you can begin to quest

as a dog might quest – eager
to find the end of the trail
no matter how many distractions
tug you aside during your journey –

or as a cat might quest —
tiptoe prowler, sudden stopper,
sit down to contemplate
the whatever of the moment –

or, if by chance
you slipped into
the owl’s cloak
before the journey,

you will soar at night
above the others
and rest at dawn,
maybe calling to them

as they quest to suggest directions
or warn of hazards, using riddles
or ruses to test them, or perhaps
to clown them?

It’s in the telling
that the best stories
do their best work
but it’s hard to deny

the part each listener plays;
whatever form they choose
to take in the telling
has its own point of view

and in the best stories
the hero shifts among the listeners
until all are one or none,
until the tale is done.