Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mary Oliver


Always there is something worth saying
about glory, about gratitude.
But I went walking a long time across the dunes
and in all that time spoke not a single word,
nor wrote one down, nor even thought anything at all
at the window of my heart.

Speechless the snowy tissue of clouds passed over, and more came,
and speechless they passed also.
The beach plums hung on the hillsides, their branches
heavy with blossoms; yet not one of them said a word.

And nothing there anyway knew, don't we know, what a word is,
or could parse down from the general liquidity of feeling
to the spasm and bull's eye of the moment, or the logic,
or the instance,
trimming the fingernails of happiness, entering the house
of rhetoric.

And yet there was one there eloquent enough,
all this time,
and not quietly but in a rhapsody of reply, though with
an absence of reason, of querulous pestering. The mockingbird
was making of himself
an orchestra, a choir, a dozen flutes,

a tambourine, an outpost of perfect and exact observation,
all afternoon rapping and whistling
on the athlete's lung-ful of leafy air. You could not
imagine a steadier talker, hunched deep in the tree,
then floating forth decorative and boisterous and mirthful,
all eye and fluttering feathers. You could not imagine
a sweeter prayer.

Mary Oliver
-from "What Do We Know"

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