Watering the Stones by Mary Oliver
Every summer I gather a few stones from
the beach and keep them in a glass bowl.
Now and again I cover them with water,
and they drink. There’s no question about
this; I put tinfoil over the bowl, tightly,
yet the water disappears. This doesn’t
mean we ever have a conversation, or that
they have the kind of feelings we do, yet
it might mean something. Whatever the
stones are, they don’t lie in the water
and do nothing.
Some of my friends refuse to believe it
happens, even though they’ve seen it. But
a few others-I’ve seen them walking down
the beach holding a few stones, and they
look at them rather more closely now.
Once in a while, I swear, I’ve even heard
one or two of them saying “Hello.”
Which, I think, does no harm to anyone or
anything, does it?
Hummingbird Pauses at the Trumpet Vine by Mary Oliver
Who doesn’t love
roses, and who
doesn’t love the lilies
of the black ponds
floating like flocks
of tiny swans,
and of course, the flaming
where the hummingbird comes
like a small green angel, to soak
his dark tongue
in happiness –
and who doesn’t want
to live with the brisk
motor of his heart
like a Schubert
and his eyes
working and working like those days of rapture,
by Van Gogh in Arles?
Look! for most of the world
or remembering –
most of the world is time
when we’re not here,
not born yet, or died –
a slow fire
under the earth with all
our dumb wild blind cousins
can’t even remember anymore
their own happiness –
Look! and then we will be
like the pale cool
stones, that last almost
Mysteries, Yes by Mary Oliver
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
A Meeting by Mary Oliver
She steps into the dark swamp
where the long wait ends.
The secret slippery package
drops to the weeds.
She leans her long neck and tongues it
between breaths slack with exhaustion
and after a while it rises and becomes a creature
like her, but much smaller.
So now there are two. And they walk together
like a dream under the trees.
In early June, at the edge of a field
thick with pink and yellow flowers
I meet them.
I can only stare.
She is the most beautiful woman
I have ever seen.
Her child leaps among the flowers,
the blue of the sky falls over me
like silk, the flowers burn, and I want
to live my life all over again, to begin again,
to be utterly