Two photos. One I just took off the internet, of a coyote; the other I just took of the coyote roaming the city park across the street from my house. At first I thought it was a dog, of course. Oh dear, someone's dog has gotten loose, I thought. I wonder if I could go lure him into my yard and check his collar for a name and address. (I did that once some years ago and discovered that I had a Lab belonging to the then governor of Massachusetts)
Then I could see that he had no collar. Then, as I watched his behavior - long loping circles of the park - I realized it wasn't a dog but a coyote. Checking the photo and description on the internet confirmed it.

It's early morning, was 6:30 AM when I first saw him. He's still there now, at 7. So there are no moms with their toddlers or people walking their dachshunds, not yet. And I suppose when Saturday-morning life begins in earnest, the coyote will lope off and disappear. Still, it is a little disconcerting having him there.

Not, however, to the Cambridge police. I called them to alert them to it and got a big yawn in reply.


My friend Ashley Bryan was here last night for dinner. Ashley lives on an island off the coast of Maine but he comes down to Boston several times a year and it is always a treat to be with him. Last night he brought me his new book: "Let It Shine"...with the words of three familiar spirituals: Let it Shine, When the Saints Go Marchin' In, and In His Hands...each spectacularly illustrated in colorful collage.

We sat at the dinner table (several other guests as well) talking about poetry. I mentioned a Yeats poem..."An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"...and Ashley recited not only the lines that I find so moving...

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love

but the entire poem to its concluding lines:

I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

Then he went on to a Shakespeare sonnet, and some Rilke...both in German and in English translation... One could not ask for better dinner table entertainment! I could have hired a string quartet and a troupe of Rockettes but nothing would beat having Ashley at your table for an evening.

Speaking of poetry, a blog reader has pointed out correctly that I mis-attributed a poem in a post a while back. It was not Dorothy Parker but Edna St. Vincent Millay who wrote the line: I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
And I knew that, too. Why on earth did I say Dorothy Parker? Sorry, poetry lovers. And thank you, Emily, for pointing it out.

Here's snapshot of Ashley and me, taken last year at a conference in Maine.

And now to work. I am really procrastinating. I need to be writing a speech to give next week in Toronto.