Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones
By Mary Oliver
How does the seed-grain feel
when it is just beginning to be wheat?
And how does the catbird feel
when the blue eggs break and become little catbirds?
Maybe on midsummer night’s eve,
and without fanfare?
And how does the turtle feel as she covers her eggs
with the sweep of her feet,
then leaves them for the world to take care of?
Does she know her accomplishment?
And when the blue heron, breaking his long breast feathers,
sees one feather fall, does he know I will find it?
Will he see me holding it in my hand?
as he opens his wings
softly and without a sound—
as he rises and floats over the water?
And this is just any day at the edge of the pond,
a black and leafy pond without a name
until I named it.
And what else can we do when the mysteries present themselves
but hope to pluck from the basket the brisk words
that will applaud them,
the heron, the turtle, the catbird, the seed-grain
kneeling in the dark earth, its body
opening into the golden world?