Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Stars

Here in my head, language
Keeps making its tiny noises.

How can I hope to be friends
with the hard white stars

whose flaring and hissing
are not speech
but a pure radiance?

How can I hope to be friends
with the yawning spaces
between them

where nothing, ever, is
spoken?
Tonight, at the edge of the
field,

I stood very still, and looked
up,
and tried to be empty of
words.

What joy was it, that almost
found me?
What amiable peace?

Then it was over, the wind
roused up in the oak trees
behind me

and I fell back, easily.
Earth has a hundred
thousand pure contraltos--

even the distant night bird
as it talks threat, as it talks
love

over the cold, black fields.
Once, deep in the woods,

I found the white skull of a
bear
and it was utterly silent--

and once a river otter, in a
steel trap,
and it too was utterly silent.

What can we do
but keep on breathing in and out,

modest and willing, and in
our places?
Listen, listen, I'm forever
saying,

Listen to the river, to the
hawk, to the hoof
to the mockingbird, to the
jack-in-the-pulpit--

then I come up with a few
words, like a gift.
Even as now.

Even as the darkness has
remained the pure, deep
darkness.
Even as the stars have
twirled a little, while I stood
here,

looking up,
one hot sentence after
another.

~Mary Oliver

6 comments:

photowannabe said...

Heavy, rich words Blue. Thanks for sharing.

Marsha said...

I came looking for Wordless Wednesday but had to comment on this one as I love Mary Oliver!

kirsten said...

mary oliver is one of my favorite poets & if you ask me, among the best living.

Moi said...

"you are lyrical by nature, the timber of your soul is soft." :)

bluemountainmama said...

moi- :)

Beth said...

I love Mary Oliver, too, and particularly like this poem. It captures my feelings very well when I look up at the night sky.