to be attentive

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Drea Art
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MOCKINGBIRDS
by Mary Oliver

This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing
the white ribbons of their songs into the air.
I had nothing
better to do than listen. I mean this seriously.

In Greece,
a long time ago, an old couple opened their door
to two strangers who were,
it soon appeared, not men at all,
but gods.
It is my favorite story– how the old couple
had almost nothing to give
but their willingness to be attentive–
but for this alone the gods loved them
and blessed them–
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water
from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners of the cottage,
and the old couple,
shaken with understanding, bowed down–
but still they asked for nothing
but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished, clapping their great wings.

Wherever it was
I was supposed to be this morning– whatever it was I said
I would be doing–
I was standing
at the edge of the field– I was hurrying
through my own soul, opening its dark doors– I was leaning out;
I was listening.

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