green tenderness and rain


Drea Art

by Mary Oliver

I don’t know what the ravens are saying this
morning of green tenderness and
rain but, my, what a collection of
squallings and cracklings and whistles, made

with the ruffling of throat feathers and the
stretching of wings, nor is it any single speech
one to the rest, but clearly, an octet, since
they are eight coal-black birds with
dark-brown eyes. I have been in this world just
long enough to learn (not always easily) to love

my neighbors and to allow them every
possibility. Maybe the ravens are talking
for some ultimate vicious but useful purpose, or
maybe it’s only directions to the next mountain, or maybe
it’s simple, silly joy. “hello, ravens,” I say, under
their dark tree and, as if courtesy were of

great importance, they turn, they clack and spill their
delicious glottals, of no consequence but
friendly and without the least judgment, down and
over me.

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