Author Archives: virtualartistaltar

thorns and leaves

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Harvest Moon
By Mary Oliver

No sky could hold

so much light–

and here comes the brimming,

the flooding and streaming

out of the clouds

and into the leaves,

glazing the creeks,

the smallest ditches!

And so many stars!

The sky seems stretched

like an old black cloth;

behind it, all

the celestial fire

we ever dreamed of!

And the moon steps lower,

quietly changing

her luminous masks, brushing

everything as she passes

with her slow hands

and soft lips–

clusters of dark grapes,

apples swinging like lost planets,

melons cool and heavy as bodies–

and the mockingbird wakes

in his hidden castle;

out of the silver tangle

of thorns and leaves

he flutters and tumbles,

spilling long

ribbons of music

over forest and river,

copse and cloud–

all heaven and all earth–

wherever the white moon

fancies her small wild prince–

field after field after field.

like a red flower

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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?

the music restarted

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Heart Poem
By Mary Oliver

My heart, that used to pump along so pleasantly,
has come now to a different sort of music.

There is someone inside those red walls, irritated
and even, occasionally, irrational.

Years ago I was part of an orchestra; our conductor
was a wild man. He was forever rapping the music-
stand for silence. Then he would call out some
correction and we would begin again.

Now again it is the wild man.

I remember the music shattering, and our desperate
attentiveness.

Once he flung the baton over our heads and into
the midst of the players. It flew over the violins
and landed next to a bass fiddle. It flopped to the
floor. What silence! Then someone picked it up
and it was passed forward back to him. He rapped
the stand and raised his arms. Then we all breathed
again, and the music restarted.

believe in kindness

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Mindful
By Mary Oliver

Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight,

that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of Light.

It was what I was born for – to look, listen, to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over in joy, and acclamation.

Nor am I talking about the exceptional, the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant – but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab, the daily presentations.

Oh, good scholar, I tell myself, how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these – the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?

Happy Birthday Cam ❤

“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”
~ Mary Oliver

a wing or a tree

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Portal 2015 by Drea
Drea Art
dreajensengallery.artistwebsites.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Such Singing in the Wild Branches
By Mary Oliver

It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them

were singing.
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

allegiance with gravity

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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.

be fulfilled

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Moments
By Mary Oliver

There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.
Like, telling someone you love them.
Or giving your money away, all of it.

Your heart is beating, isn’t it?
You’re not in chains, are you?

There is nothing more pathetic than caution
when headlong might save a life,
even, possibly, your own.