sweeter arrangement

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Drea Art
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LITTLE DOG’S RHAPSODY IN THE NIGHT
By Mary Oliver

He puts his cheek against mine

and makes small expressive sounds.

And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws

in the air

and his eyes dark and fervent.

“Tell me you love me,” he says.

“Tell me again.”

Could there be any sweeter arrangement? Over and over

he gets to ask.

I get to tell.

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still standing

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Drea Art
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I Happened to Be Standing
By Mary Oliver

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can’t really
call being alive
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

honey of summer

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Drea Art
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August
By Mary Oliver

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.

all over the world

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Aubade has been chosen by a Cambridge professor as the cover art of a future publication 🎨

Drea Art
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Softest of Mornings
by Mary Oliver

Softest of mornings, hello.
And what will you do today, I wonder,
to my heart?
And how much honey can the heart stand, I wonder,
before it must break?

This is trivial, or nothing: a snail
climbing a trellis of leaves
and the blue trumpets of flowers.

No doubt clocks are ticking loudly
all over the world.
I don’t hear them. The snail’s pale horns
extend and wave this way and that
as her fingers-body shuffles forward, leaving behind
the silvery path of her slime.

Oh, softest of mornings, how shall I break this?
How shall I move away from the snail, and the flowers?
How shall I go on, with my introspective and ambitious life?

without compromise

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Drea Art
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The Gardens
By Mary Oliver

Moon rose
full and without
compromise through the good
garden of leaves,
here and there
stars rode in flickering
slicks of water
and for certain
the burly trees
hunched toward each other,
their dark mantles
like the fur of animals
touching. It was
summer on earth
so the prayer
I whispered was to no god
but another creature like me.

Where are you?

The wind stood still.
Lightning flung
its intermittent flares;
in the orchard
something wandered
among the windfalls,
licking the skins,
nuzzling the tunnels,
the pockets of seeds.

Where are you? I called
and hurried out
over the silky sea
of the night, across
the good garden of branches,
leaves, water, down
into the garden
of fire.

This skin you wear so neatly,
in which you settle
so brightly on the summer grass, how
shall I know it?
You gleam as you lie back
breathing like something
taken from water,
a sea creature, except
for your two human legs
which tremble
and open
into the dark country
I keep dreaming of. How
shall I touch you
unless it is
everywhere?
I begin
here and there,
finding you,
the heart within you,
and the animal,
and the voice.
I ask
over and over
for your whereabouts,
trekking wherever you take me,
the boughs of your body
leading deeper into the trees,
over the white fields,
the rivers of bone,
the shouting,
the answering, the rousing
great run toward the interior,
the unseen, the unknowable
center.

garden

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Drea Art
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Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way
By Mary Oliver

If you’re John Muir you want trees to
live among. If you’re Emily, a garden
will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

•

When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

Anything that touches.

•

God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
entirely.

•

Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

•

In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

•

All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

•

To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.

•

For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

•

Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

•

The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

into the dark pond

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Drea Art

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Turtle
by Mary Oliver

Now I see it–
it nudges with its bulldog head
the slippery stems of the lilies, making them tremble
and now it noses along in the wake of the little brown teal

who is leading her soft children
from one side of the pond to the other; she keeps
close to the edge
and they follow closely, the good children–

the tender children,
the sweet children, dangling their pretty feet
into the darkness.
And now will come–I can count on it–the murky splash

the certain victory
of that pink and gassy mouth, and the frantic
circling of the hen while the rest of the chicks
flare away over the water and into the reeds, and my heart

will be most mournful
on their account. But, listen,
what’s important?
Nothing’s important

except that the great and cruel mystery of the world,
of which this is a part,
not be denied. Once,
I happened to see, on a city street, in summer,

a dusty, fouled turtle plodding along–
a snapper–
broken out I suppose from some backyard cage–
and I knew what I had to do–

I looked it right in the eyes, and I caught it–
I put it, like a small mountain range,
into a knapsack, and I took it out
of the city, and I let it

down into the dark pond, into
the cool water,
and the light of the lilies,
to live.