perceive this world



Across the wide waters

something comes

floating—a slim

and delicate

ship, filled

with white flowers—

and it moves

on its miraculous muscles

as though time didn’t exist,

as though bringing such gifts

to the dry shore

was a happiness

almost beyond bearing.

And now it turns its dark eyes,

it rearranges

the clouds of its wings,

it trails

an elaborate webbed foot,

the color of charcoal.

Soon it will be here.

Oh, what shall I do

when that poppy-colored beak

rests in my hand?

Said Mrs. Blake of the poet:

I miss my husband’s company—

he is so often

in paradise.

Of course! the path to heaven

doesn’t lie down in flat miles.

It’s in the imagination

with which you perceive

this world,

and the gestures

with which you honor it.

Oh, what will I do, what will I say, when those

white wings

touch the shore?

~ by Mary Oliver

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