By Mary Oliver
Who can tell how lovely in June is the
honey locust tree, or why
a tree should be so sweet and live
in this world? Each white blossom
on a dangle of white flowers holds one green seed-
a new life. Also each blossom on a dangle of flower
holds a flask
of fragrance called heave, which is never sealed.
The bees circle the tree and dive into it. They are crazy
with gratitude. They are working like farmers. They are as
happy as saints. After awhile the flowers begin to
wilt and drop down into the grass. Welcome
shines in the grass.
Each year I gather
handfuls of blossoms and eat of their mealiness; the honey
melts in my mouth, the seeds make me strong,
both when they are crisps and ripe, and even at the end
when their petals have turned dully yellow.
So it is
if the heart has devoted itself to love, there is
not a single inch of emptiness. Gladness gleams
all the way to the grave.
then the scouts going out,
then their coming back, and their dancing-
but what happens in our own village.
What pity for the tiny souls
Who are so hopeful, and work so diligently
until time brings, as it does, the slap and the claw
Someday, of course, the bear himself
will become a bee, a honey bee, in the general mixing.
Nature, under her long green hair,
has such unbendable rules,
and a bee is not a powerful thing, even
when there are many
as people, in a town or a village.
And what, moreover, is catastrophe?
Is it the sharp sword of God,
or just some other wild body, loving its life?
Not caring a whit, black bear
blinks his horrible, beautiful eyes,
slicks his teeth with his fat and happy tongue,
and saunters on.
to follow a thought quietly
to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.
But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing
in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.
If there’s a temple, I haven’t found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass and the weeds.