By Mary Oliver
There’s this shape, black as the entrance to a cave.
A longing wells up in its throat
like a blossom
as it breathes slowly.
What does the world
mean to you if you can’t trust it
to go on shining when you’re
not there? and there’s
a tree, long-fallen; once
the bees flew to it, like a procession
of messengers, and filled it
I said to the chickadee, singing his heart out in the
green pine tree:
The shape climbs up out of the curled grass. It
grunts into view. There is no measure
for the confidence at the bottom of its eyes-
there is no telling
the suppleness of its shoulders as it turns
Near the fallen tree
something- a leaf snapped loose
from the branch and fluttering down- tries to pull me
into its trap of attention.
It pulls me
into its trap of attention,
And when I turn again, the bear is gone.
Look, hasn’t my body already felt
like the body of a flower?
Look, I want to love this world
as though it’s the last chance I’m ever going to get
to be alive
and know it.
Sometimes in late summer I won’t touch anything, not
the flowers, not the blackberries
brimming in the thickets; I won’t drink
from the pond; I won’t name the birds or the trees;
I won’t whisper my own name.
the fox came down the hill, glittering and confident,
and didn’t see me- and I thought:
so this is the world.
I’m not in it.
It is beautiful.