go on drifting


Honey Locust
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.

floating in,

then the scouts going out,

then their coming back, and their dancing-

nothing different

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s