Monthly Archives: April 2017

dream of rising

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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.

mystery of the world

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Turtle
By Mary Oliver

Now I see it–
it nudges with its bulldog head
the slippery stems of the lilies, making them tremble;
and now it noses along in the wake of the little brown teal

who is leading her soft children
from one side of the pond to the other; she keeps
close to the edge
and they follow closely, the good children–

the tender children,
the sweet children, dangling their pretty feet
into the darkness.
And now will come–I can count on it–the murky splash,

the certain victory
of that pink and gassy mouth, and the frantic
circling of the hen while the rest of the chicks
flare away over the water and into the reeds, and my heart

will be most mournful
on their account. But, listen,
what’s important?
Nothing’s important

except that the great and cruel mystery of the world,
of which this is a part,
not to be denied. Once,
I happened to see, on a city street, in summer,

a dusty, fouled turtle plodded along–
a snapper–
broken out I suppose from some backyard cage–
and I knew what I had to do–

I looked it right in the eyes, and I caught it–
I put it, like a small mountain range,
into a knapsack, and I took it out
of the city, and I let it

down into the dark pond, into
the cool water,
and the light of the lilies,
to live.

effortlessly

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I am breathing
By Mary Oliver

Breathing just a little
life flows
without thought
of each moment passing
away
draining into the next
every drop of anticipation
sucked dry
of life’s rich bounty
unfolding
in the unexpected joy
of being alive.

Breathing together
of all things
I find myself
awakened
revelling in every drop
of anticipation
dripping wet in the ripe, rich fruit
of life
flowing
effortlessly
into the unexpected joy
of being alive.

red bird

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I Will Try
By Mary Oliver

I will try.
I will step from the house to see what I see
and hear and I will praise it.
I did not come into this world
to be comforted.
I come, like red bird, to sing.
But I’m not red bird, with his head-mop of flame
and the red triangle of his mouth
full of tongue and whistles,
but a woman whose love has vanished
who thinks now, too much, of roots
and the dark places
where everything is simply holding on.
But this too, I believe, is a place
where God is keeping watch
until we rise, and step forth again and–
but wait. Be still. Listen!
Is it red bird? Or something
inside myself, singing?

sky-house

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Everything That Was Broken
~ Mary Oliver

Everything that was broken has
forgotten its brokenness. I live
now in a sky-house, through every
window the sun. Also your presence.
Our touching, our stories. Earthy
and holy both. How can this be, but
it is. Every day has something in
it whose name is Forever.

like a hungry bear

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When Death Comes
By Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

just listens

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That Little Beast
by Mary Oliver

That pretty little beast, a poem,
has a mind of its own.
Sometimes I want it to crave apples
but it wants red meat.
Sometimes I want to walk peacefully
on the shore
and it wants to take off all it’s clothes
and dive in.

Sometimes I want to use small words
and make them important
and it starts shouting the dictionary,
the opportunities.

Sometimes I want to sum up and give thanks,
putting things in order
and it starts dancing around the room
on its four furry legs, laughing
and calling me outrageous.

But sometimes, when I’m thinking about you,
and no doubt smiling,
it sits down quietly, one paw under its chin,
and just listens.