Thursday, April 4, 2013

National Poetry Month: Mary Oliver


By Mary Oliver

This morning

two mockingbirds

in the green field

were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons

of their songs

into the air.

I had nothing

better to do

than listen.

I mean this


In Greece,

a long time ago,

an old couple

opened their door

to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,

but gods.
It is my favorite story -
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give

but their willingness
to be attentive -
but for this alone
the gods loved them

and blessed them -
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water

from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,

and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down -
but still they asked for nothing

but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.

Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning -
whatever it was I said

I would be doing - 
I was standing
at tend edge of the field -
I was hurrying

through my own soul,
opening its dark doors - 
I was leaning out;
I was listening.

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