unexpected kindness

Paintings by Drea

Paintings by Drea

The Waterfall by Mary Oliver

For all they said,

I could not see the waterfall

until I came and saw the water falling,

its lace legs and its womanly arms sheeting down,

while something howled like thunder,

over the rocks,

all day and all night –


like ribbons made of snow,

or god’s white hair.

At any distance

it fell without a break or seam, and slowly, a simple

preponderance –

a fall of flowers – and truly it seemed

surprised by the unexpected kindness of the air and

light-hearted to be

flying at last.

Gravity is a fact everybody

knows about.

It is always underfoot,

like a summons,

gravel-backed and mossy,

in every beetled basin –

and imagination –

that striver,

that third eye –

can do a lot but

hardly everything. The white, scrolled

wings of the tumbling water

I never could have

imagined. And maybe there will be,

after all,

some slack and perfectly balanced

blind and rough peace, finally,

in the deep and green and utterly motionless pools after all that


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