Don't think just now of the trudging forward of thought,

but of the wing-drive of unquestioning affirmation.


It's summer, you never saw such a blue sky,

and here they are, those white birds with quick wings,


sweeping over the waves,

chattering and plunging,


their thin beaks snapping, their hard eyes

happy as little nails.


The years to come -- this is a promise --

will grant you ample time


to try the difficult steps in the empire of thought

where you seek for the shining proofs you think you must have.


But nothing you ever understand will be sweeter, or more binding,

than this deep affinity between your eyes and the world.


The flock thickens

over the roiling, salt brightness.  Listen,


maybe such devotion, in which one holds the world

in the clasp of attention, isn't the perfect prayer,


but it must be close, for the sorrow, whose name is doubt,

is thus subdued, and not through the weaponry of reason,


but of pure submission.  Tell me, what else

could beauty be for?  And now the tide


is at its very crown,

the white birds sprinkle down,


gathering up the loose silver, rising

as if weightless.  It isn't instruction, or a parable.


It isn't for any vanity or ambition

except for the one allowed, to stay alive.


It's only a nimble frolic

over the waves.  And you find, for hours,


you cannot even remember the questions

that weigh so in your mind.


~ Mary Oliver ~

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Replies to This Discussion

Mark, Thank you for the Mary Oliver! When I read her, I always feel like I'm there with her. She is one that both invigorates and calms me. Lovely.-Ruth Martin

Yes Ruth, me too. Always seeking that edge that invigorates and calms. Oliver seems to deliver that sweet spot pretty consistently. If you have not yet treated yourself to her audio CD of At Blackwater Pond, please do. I wore the grooves out on that one during a heavy year of driving, and boy did it open some psychic and spiritual doors! Beautiful readings. 

Good connecting, take care,


Thanks for that info, Mark. I discovered her many years ago, but then moved to other things. I got "A Thousand Mornings in ? Dec. And have been savoring it since. I will look for the CD, even the  title is a promise of some beautiful nature experience.

Nice meeting you!


Nice to connect with you Ruth! I'm sure we'll cross paths again somewhere




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