The Night Traveler

Passing by, he could be anybody:
A thief, a tradesman, a doctor
On his way to a worried house.
But when he stops at your gate,
Under the room where you lie half-asleep,
You know it is not just anyone -
It is the Night Traveler.

You lean your arms on the sill
And stare down. But all you can see
Are bits of wilderness attached to him -
Twigs, loam, and leaves,
Vines and blossoms. Among these
You feel his eyes, and his hands
Lifting something in the air.

He has a gift for you, but it has no name.
It is windy and wooly.
He holds it in the moonlight, and it sings
Like a newborn beast,
Like a child at Christmas,
Like your own heart as it tumbles
In love's green bed.
You take it, and he is gone.

All night - and all your life, if you are willing -
It will nuzzle your face, cold-nosed,
Like a small white wolf;
It will curl in your palm

Like a hard blue stone;
It will liquify into a cold pool
Which, when you dive into it,
Will hold you like a mossy jaw.
A bath of light. An answer.

Mary Oliver: from Twelve Moons: 1979
found in New and Selected Poems, Volume One Beacon Press, 1992

Comments

zorra said…
Oh! How does she DO that??
Ben Gage said…
nice to read this just now, thanks for post...

Popular Posts