Monthly Archives: August 2015

comes to visit

Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

Can You Imagine?
By Mary Oliver

For example, what the trees do
not only in lightning storms
or the watery dark of a summer’s night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now – whenever
we’re not looking. Surely you can’t imagine
they don’t dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade – surely you can’t imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can’t imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

comfort of a poem

Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

Mysteries, Yes
By Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity,
while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

almost morning

Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

Night Herons
by Mary Oliver

Some herons were fishing in the robes of the night
At a low hour of the water’s body,
And the fish I suppose, were full
Of fish happiness in those transparent inches
Even as, over and over, the beaks jacked down
And the narrow bodies were lifted
With every quick sally,
And that was the end of them as far as we know-
Though, what do we know except that death
Is so everywhere and so entire-
Pummeling and felling,
Or sometimes,
Like this, appearing
Through such a thing door-
One stab and you’re through!
And what then?
Why, then it was almost morning,
And one by one the birds opened their wings and flew.


Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

What Do We Know
Mary Oliver

The sky cleared
I was standing
under a tree.
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain —
imagine! Imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

moon and water

Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

Moon and Water
by Mary Oliver

I wake and spend
the last hours
of darkness
with no one

but the moon.
She listens
to my complaints
like the good

companion she is
and comforts me surely
with her light.
But she, like everyone,

has her own life.
So finally I understand
that she has turned away,
is no longer listening.

She wants me
to refold myself
into my own life.
And, bending close,

as we all dream of doing,
she rows with her white arms
through the dark water
which she adores.


Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

Dear Heart Comes Home
By Mary Oliver

I keep pulling it out – I keep pulling it out –

The old map of my inner path.

I squint closely at it,

Trying to see some hidden road

That maybe I’ve missed.

But there’s nothing there now

Except some well-traveled paths.

They have seen my footsteps often,

Held my laughter, caught my tears.

I keep going over the old map

But now the roads lead nowhere,

A meaningless wilderness

Where life is dull and futile.

“Toss away the old map,” she says.

“You must be kidding!” I reply.

She looks at me with Sarah eyes

And repeats, “Toss it away.

It’s of no use where you are going.”

“I have to have a map?” I cry.

“Even if it takes me nowhere.

I can’t be without a direction.”

She says, “So why not let go, be free?”

So there I am – tossing away the old map,

Sadly, fearfully, putting it behind me.

“Whatever will I do?” wails my security.

“Trust me” says my mid-life soul.

No map, no specific directions.

No “This way ahead” or “Take a left.”

How will I know where to go?

How will I find my way? No map!

But then my mid-life soul whispers:

“There was a time before maps

When pilgrims traveled by the stars.”

It is time for the pilgrim in me

To travel in the dark,

To learn to read the stars

That shine in my soul

I will walk deeper

Into the dark of my night,

I will wait for the stars,

Trust their guidance,

And let their light be enough for me.

the mystery

Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches
by Mary Oliver

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches
of other lives —
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey,
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning,
feel like?

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over
the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one’s foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!

To set one’s foot in the door of death, and be overcome
with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird’s pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened

in the night

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe

I even heard a curl or tow of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!

A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what’s coming next
is coming with its own heave and grace.

Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?

And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.

That was then, which hasn’t ended yet.

Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean’s edge.

I climb, I backtrack.
I float.
I ramble my way home.

in their small hands

Self-Portraits by Students

Self-Portraits by Students

Children, It’s Spring
by Mary Oliver

And this is the lady
Whom everyone loves,
Ms. Violet
in her purple gown

Or, on special occasions,
A dress the color
Of sunlight. She sits
In the mossy weeds and waits

To be noticed.
She loves dampness.
She loves attention.
She loves especially

To be picked by careful fingers,
Young fingers, entranced
By what has happened
To the world.

We, the older ones,
Call in Spring,
And we have been through it
Many times.

But there is still nothing
Like the children bringing home
Such happiness
In their small hands.


Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

Mary Oliver

Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the hour
and the bell; grant me, in your mercy,
a little more time. Love for the earth
and love for you are having such a long
conversation in my heart. Who knows what
will finally happen or where I will be sent,
yet already I have given a great many things
away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,
except the prayers which, with this thirst,
I am slowly learning.