Monthly Archives: October 2017

black ducks

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Drea Art
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In the Storm
By Mary Oliver

Some black ducks
were shrugged up
on the shore.
It was snowing

hard, from the east,
and the sea
was in disorder.
Then some sanderlings,

five inches long
with beaks like wire,
flew in,
snowflakes on their backs,

and settled
in a row
behind the ducks —
whose backs were also

covered with snow —
so close
they were all but touching,
they were all but under

the roof of the duck’s tails,
so the wind, pretty much,
blew over them.
They stayed that way, motionless,

for maybe an hour,
then the sanderlings,
each a handful of feathers,
shifted, and were blown away

out over the water
which was still raging.
But, somehow,
they came back

and again the ducks,
like a feathered hedge,
let them
crouch there, and live.

If someone you didn’t know
told you this,
as I am telling you this,
would you believe it?

Belief isn’t always easy.
But this much I have learned —
if not enough else —
to live with my eyes open.

I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn’t a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness —

as now and again
some rare person has suggested —
is a miracle.
As surely it is.

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luminous undertow

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Drea Art
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The Swimmer
By Mary Oliver

All winter the water
has crashed over
the cold sand. Now
it breaks over the thin

branch of your body.
You plunge down, you swim
two or three strokes, you dream
of lingering

in the luminous undertow
but can’t; you splash
through the bursting
white blossoms,

the silk sheets—gasping,
you rise and struggle
lightward, finding your way
through the blue ribs back

to the sun, and emerge
as though for the first time.
Poor fish,
poor flesh

you can never forget.
Once every wall was water,
the soft strings filled
with a perfect nourishment.

just listens

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Drea Art

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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.

every evening

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Drea Art

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The Sun
By Mary Oliver

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life
more wonderful
than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you
as you stand there,
empty-handed–
or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

luminous and willful

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Drea Art
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Music Lesson
by Mary Oliver

Sometimes, in the middle of the lesson,
we exchanges places. She would gaze a moment at her hands
spread over the keys; then the small house with its knickknacks,
its shut windows,

its photographs of her sons and the serious husband,
vanished as new shapes formed. Sound
became music, and music a white
scarp for the listener to climb

alone. I leaped rock over rock to the top
and found myself waiting, transformed,
and still she played, her eyes luminous and willful,
her pinned hair falling down –

forgetting me, the house, the neat green yard,
she fled in that lick of flame all tedious bonds:
supper, the duties of flesh and home,
the knife at the throat, the death in the metronome.

vitality

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Drea Art
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Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness
by Mary Oliver

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?
So let us go on

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

comes to the bones

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Drea Art
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Patience
By Mary Oliver

What is the good life now? Why,
look here, consider
the moon’s white crescent

rounding, slowly, over the half month to still another
perfect circle —

the shining eye
that lightens the hills,
that lays down the shadows

of the branches of the trees,
that summons the flowers
to open their sleepy faces and look up

into the heavens.
I used to hurry everywhere,
and leaped over the running creaks.

There wasn’t
time enough for all the wonderful things
I could think of to do

in a single day. Patience
comes to the bones
before it takes root in the heart

as another good idea.
I say this
as I stand in the woods

and study the patterns
of the moon shadows,
or stroll down into the waters

that now, late summer, have also
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another.