earth roots

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Drea Art
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Drifting by Mary Oliver

I was enjoying everything: the rain, the path
wherever it was taking me, the earth roots
beginning to stir.
I didn’t intend to start thinking about God,
it just happened.
How God, or the gods, are invisible,
quite understandable
but holiness is visible, entirely.
It’s wonderful to walk along like that,
thought not the usual intention to reach an
answer
but merely drifting.
Like clouds that only seem weightless.
but of course are not.
Are really important.
I mean, terribly important.
Not decoration by any means.
By next week the violets will be blooming.

Anyway, this was my delicious walk in the rain.
What was it actually about?

Think about what it is that music is trying to say.
It was something like that.


lit and bright

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Snow Geese by Mary Oliver

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
sometimes
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us
as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,
but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.
The geese
flew on,
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won’t.
It doesn’t matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.


continual blessing 

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Drea Art
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For I Will Consider My Dog Percy by Mary Oliver

For I will consider my dog Percy.

For he was made small but brave of heart.

For if he met another dog he would kiss her in kindness.

For when he slept he snored only a little.

For he could be silly and noble in the same moment.

For when he spoke he remembered the trumpet and when he scratched he struck the floor like a drum.

For he ate only the finest food and drank only the purest of water, yet he would nibble of the dead fish also.

For he came to me impaired and therefore certain of short life, yet thoroughly rejoiced in each day.

For he took his medicines without argument.

For he played easily with the neighbor’s Bull Mastiff.

For when he came upon mud he splashed through it.

For he was an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.

For he listened to poems as well as love-talk.

For when he sniffed it was as if he were being pleased by every part of the world.

For when he sickened he rallied as many times as he could.

For he was a mixture of gravity and waggery.

For we humans can seek self-destruction in ways he never dreamed of.

For he took actions both cunning and reckless, yet refused always to offer himself to be admonished.

For his sadness though without words was understandable.

For there was nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.

For there was nothing brisker than his life when in motion.

For he was of the tribe of Wolf.

For when I went away he would watch for me at the window.

For her loved me.

For he suffered before I found him, and never forgot it.

For he loved Anne.

For when he lay down to enter sleep he did not argue about whether or not God made him.

For he could fling himself upside down and laugh a true laugh.

For he loved his friend Ricky.

For he would dig holes in the sand and then let Ricky lie in them.

For I often see his shape in the clouds and this is a continual blessing.


everything is possible

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Drea Art
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Worm Moon by Mary Oliver

In March the earth remembers its own name.
Everywhere the plates of snow are cracking.
The rivers begin to sing. In the sky
the winter stars are sliding away; new stars
appear as, later, small blades of grain
will shine in the dark fields.

And the name of every place
is joyful.

II.
The season of curiosity is everlasting
and the hour for adventure never ends,
but tonight
even the men who walked upon the moon
are lying content
by open windows
where the winds are sweeping over the fields,
over water,
over the naked earth,
into villages, and lonely country houses, and the vast cities

III.
because it is spring;
because once more the moon and the earth are eloping –
a love match that will bring forth fantastic children
who will learn to stand, walk, and finally run
   over the surface of earth;
who will believe, for years,
that everything is possible.

IV.
Born of clay,
how shall a man be holy;
born of water,
how shall a man visit the stars;
born of the seasons,
how shall a man live forever?

V.
Soon
the child of the red-spotted newt, the eft,
will enter his life from the tiny egg.
On his delicate legs
he will run through the valleys of moss
down to the leaf mold by the streams,
where lately white snow lay upon the earth
like a deep and lustrous blanket
of moon-fire,

VI.
and probably
everything
is possible.


no matter what

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An Old Story by Mary Oliver

Sleep comes its little while. Then I wake
in the valley of midnight or three a.m.
to the first fragrance of spring

which is coming, all by itself, no matter what.
My heart says, what you thought you have you do not have.
My body says, will this pounding ever stop?

My heart says, there, there, be a good student.
My body says let me up and out. I want to fondle
those soft white flowers, open in the night.


doorway into thanks

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Praying by Mary Oliver

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.


my trembling hands

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Alligator Poem by Mary Oliver

I knelt down
at the edge of the water,
and if the white birds standing
in the tops of the trees whistled any warning
I didn’t understand,
I drank up to the very moment it came
crashing toward me,
its tail flailing
like a bundle of swords,
slashing the grass,
and the inside of its cradle-shaped mouth
gaping,
and rimmed with teeth –
and that’s how I almost died
of foolishness
in beautiful Florida.
But I didn’t.
I leaped aside, and fell,
and it streamed past me, crushing everything in its path
as it swept down to the water
and threw itself in,
and, in the end,
this isn’t a poem about foolishness
but about how I rose from the ground
and saw the world as if for the second time,
the way it really is.
The water, that circle of shattered glass,
healed itself with a slow whisper
and lay back
with the back-lit light of polished steel,
and the birds, in the endless waterfalls of the trees,
shook open the snowy pleats of their wings, and drifted away,
while, for a keepsake, and to steady myself,
I reached out,
I picked the wild flowers from the grass around me –
blue stars
and blood-red trumpets
on long green stems –
for hours in my trembling hands they glittered
like fire.

perform admiration

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Sand Dabs, Five by Mary Oliver

What men build, in the name of security, is built of straw.

*

Does the grain of sand know it is a grain of sand?

*

My dog Ben — a mouth like a tabernacle.

*

You can have the other words-chance, luck, coincidence,
serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but
I’ll take it.

*

The pine cone has secrets it will never tell.

*

Myself, myself, myself, that darling hut!
How quick it will burn!

*

Death listens
to the hum and strike of my words.
His laughter spills.

*

Spring: there rises up from the earth such a blazing sweetness
it fills you, thank God, with disorder.

*

I am a performing artist; I perform admiration.
Come with me, I want my poems to say. And do the same.

on the beach

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Drea Art
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Bone by Mary Oliver

1.

Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone

2.

is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer’s head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary

3.

yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn’t see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don’t we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it

4.

lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
certainties
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
softly,
through the pale-pink morning light.

be astonished

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Drea Art
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My Work Is Loving The World by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.