Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat
of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or
forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?
Behold, I say - behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings
of this gritty earth gift.
Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe
And someone's face, whom you love, will be as a
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved,
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.
What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements,
though with difficulty.
I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow
(everything is nourishment
somehow or another).
And I have become the child of the clouds, and
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever
I have become older and, cherishing what I have
I have become younger.
And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.
~~ Mary Oliver ~~