The Spirit Likes To Dress Up
by Mary Oliver
The spirit likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers, ten toes, shoulders, and all the rest,
at night in the black branches,
in the morning in the blue branches of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs the metaphor of the body,
lime and appetite, the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body’s world, instinct and imagination,
and the dark hug of time, sweetness and tangibility,
to be understood,
to be more than pure light that burns
where no one is –
so it enters us – in the morning,
shines from brute comfort like a stitch of lightning;
and at night lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body like a star.