Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mockingbirds

This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing

better to do
than listen.
I mean this
seriously.

In Greece,
a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door

to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,

but gods.
It is my favorite story--
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give

but their willingness
to be attentive--
but for this alone
the gods loved them

and blessed them--
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water

from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,

and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down--
but still they asked for nothing

but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.

Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said

I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying

through my own soul,
opening its dark doors--
I was leaning out;
I was listening.

Mary Oliver: The Atlantic Monthly Company. The Atlantic Monthly; February 1994; Mockingbirds; Volume 273, No. 2; page 80

3 comments:

Bad Alice said...

I always enjoy dropping by to read the Mary Oliver poems you post. She is just magnificent. Her poems are like bells that wake you up.

Sherry Peyton said...

This is simply lovely. Thank you for posting it!

Purple said...

This poem...and the new design and color scheme...basking in both.

I will with God's help....uncomplicating the complicated

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