On Nature, Vividly

Today I’m thankful for Mary Oliver.

Mary Oliver is an American poet.  Interestingly, she helped Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sister revise that late poet’s papers for publication.  Ms. Oliver is known for sparse, precise phrases that provoke vivid images of nature.  “Wild Geese” is probably her best known piece.  It’s a poem that keeps appearing in my own life.  If I were a superstitious person I’d wonder about it.  Thankfully I’m not.

I prefer “The Swan” to “Wild Geese.”

The Swan

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

From New And Selected Poems: Volume One by Mary Oliver, Beacon Press, Boston, 1992 (all rights to author and publisher)

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