When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
One of my dearest friends who happens to be a rather spectacular poet arrives tomorrow at 7:00pm for the weekend (not that I’m counting down or anything). I’ll get to hear her work at a reading Saturday night, we’ll eat and drink and sit quietly and just understand each other and laugh and laugh and laugh. And this poem makes me think of her. ~LP
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
—Mary Oliver, Dream Work
To the furnace—tall, steel rectangle
containing a flawless flame.
gliding through ducts, our babies
asleep like bundled opal.
every furry grain of every
warm hour, praise each
deflection of frost,
praise the fluent veins, praise
the repair person, trudging
in a Carhartt coat
to dig for leaky lines, praise
the equator, where snow
is a stranger,
praise the eminent sun
for letting us orbs buzz around it
like younger brothers,
praise the shooter’s pistol
for silencing its fire by
reason of a chilly chamber
praise our ancestors who shuddered
through winters, bunched
on stark bunks,
praise the owed money
becoming postponed by a lender
who won’t wait
much longer in the icy wind,
praise the neon antifreeze
in our Chevrolet radiator,
and praise the kettle whistle,
imitating an important train,
these steam-brimmed sips of tea.