Work in Progress by Drea
happy to be.
bloom with time.
Foolishness? No It’s Not
By Mary Oliver
Sometimes I spend all day trying to count
the leaves on a single tree. To do this I
have to climb branch by branch and
write down the numbers in a little book.
So I suppose, from their point of view,
it’s reasonable that my friends say: what
foolishness! She’s got her head in the clouds
But it’s not. Of course I have to give up,
but by then I’m half crazy with the wonder
of it – with abundance of the leaves, the
quietness of the branches, the hopelessness
of my effort. And I am in that delicious
and important place, roaring with laughter,
full of earth-praise.
Walk the Road
Pavement radiate heat,
Dog day of summer,
caress bare skin,
Walk the road,
“But I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also all the good attachments to that origin that we can keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its graceful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the senses, and the beauty of forest and ocean and rain and our own breath. There is not a dog that romps and runs but we learn from him.
The other dog—the one that all its life walks leashed and obedient down the sidewalk—is what a chair is to a tree. It is a possession only, the ornament of a human life. Such dogs can remind us of nothing large or noble or mysterious or lost. They cannot make us sweeter or more kind.
Only unleashed dogs can do that. They are a kind of poetry themselves when they are devoted not only to us but to the wet night, to the moon and the rabbit-smell in the grass and their own bodies leaping forward.”
~ Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“lots of colorful abstract paintings” ~ Drea Art mentioned in SF Chronicle write up for Occidental Road Cellars!
Just Around the House, Early in the Morning
By Mary Oliver
Though I have been scorned for it,
let me never be afraid to use the word beautiful.
For within is the shining leaf
and the blossoms of the geranium at the window.
And the eyes of the happy puppy as he wakes.
The colors of the old and beloved afghan lying
by itself, on the couch, in the morning sun.
The hummingbird’s nest perched now in a
corner of the bookshelf, in front of so many
books of so many colors.
The two poached eggs. The buttered toast.
The ream of brand-new paper just opened,
white as a block of snow.
The typewriter humming, ready to go.
by Mary Oliver
for forty years
the sheets of white paper have
passed under my hands and I have tried
to improve their peaceful
emptiness putting down
little curls little shafts
of letters words
little flames leaping
not one page
was less to me than fascinating
discursive full of cadence
its pale nerves hiding
in the curves of the Qs
behind the soldierly Hs
in the webbed feet of the Ws
and again this morning as always
I am stopped as the world comes back
wet and beautiful I am thinking
is not even a river
is not a tree is not a green field
is not even a black ant traveling
from day to day from one
golden page to another.
Take a back road,
sand dune slip.
Black vulture collide,
beach grass hue,
Improvise jazz step,
connect logical artistic,
feel at home.
water of assurance
surround our island.
Truth as shield
boldly take first step.
By Mary Oliver
In the morning the blue heron is busy
stepping, slowly, around the edge of the
pond. He is tall and shining. His wings, folded
against his body, fit so neatly they
make of him, when he lifts his shoulders and begins to rise
into the air, a great surprise. Also
he carries so light the terrible sword-beak. Then
he is gone over the trees.
I am so happy to be alive in this world
I would like to live forever, but I am
content not to. Seeing what I have seen
has filled me; believing what I believe
has filled me.
The first words of this page are
hardly thought of when the bird
circles back over the trees; it floats down
like an armful of blue flowers, a bundle of light
coming to refresh itself again in the black water, and I think:
maybe it is or it isn’t the same bird-maybe it’s
the first one’s child, or the child of its child.
What I mean is, our deliverance from Time
and the continuance, if we only steward them well,
of earthly things. So maybe it’s myself still standing here, or
someone else, like myself hot with the joy of this world, and
filled with praise.
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 half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the 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.