Evening Poetry, October 12

Goldenrod, Late Fall

by Mary Oliver

This morning the goldenrod are all wearing

their golden shirts

fresh from heaven’s soft wash in the chill night.

So it must be a celebration.

And here comes the wind, so many swinging wings!

Has he been invited, or is he the intruder?

Invited, whisper the golden pebbles of the weeds,

as they begin to fall

over the ground. Well, you would think the little murmurs

of the broken blossoms would have said

otherwise, but no. So I sit down among them to

think about it while all around me the crumbling

goes on. The weeds let down their seedy faces

cheerfully, which is the part I like best, and certainly

it is as good as a book for learning from. You would think

they were just going for a small sleep. You would think

they couldn’t wait, it was going to be

that snug and even, as all their lives were, full of

excitation. You would think

it was a voyage just beginning, and no darkness anywhere,

but tinged with all necessary instruction, and light,

and all were shriven, as all the round world is,

and so it wasn’t anything but easy to fall, to whisper

Good Night.

You can find this poem in Why I Wake Early.

Evening Poetry, October 7

Sunrise

by Mary Oliver

You can
die for it–
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
brilliantly,
letting
their small bodies be bound

to the stake,
creating
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,

and India
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

blazes
for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter
fire.

You can find this poem in Dream Work.

Evening Poetry, August 12

Water

by Mary Oliver

What is the vitality and necessity

of clean water?

Ask the man who is ill, who is lifting

his lips to the cup.

Ask the forest.

You can find this poem in the collection Evidence.

I’m Thinking About Trees (A Poem)

I’m thinking about trees, the ones standing 

at the back of the house. Maples, in particular. 

And how they are so clearly trees and 

are not in the habit of having identity crises. 

They aren’t wondering if they should perhaps

be like the evergreens next to them, or, 

maybe, like the apple trees in the orchard. 

After all, those pines don’t stand naked and 

exposed during the coldest months of the year. 

After all, apple trees have pretty pink blossoms 

in spring and all those juicy apples in fall. 

No, the maples stand sure with their trunks straight, 

while their branches grow out their new green leaves. 

They don’t seem to care if the wind blows fiercely 

against them. They just dance along—their branches 

swaying and bending, their leaves shimmying 

with each gust. They have two aims: to root down 

deep into darkness and to grow up tall toward 

the light.

If anything looks like a prayer to me, 

it’s how a tree lives its uncomplicated life. 

How it gives itself to each day completely, 

as only a tree can. How it stands rooted 

no matter what comes and never tries to be

something it’s not. A tree is itself: a tree.

Poem by Kim Pollack /©2019 All Rights Reserved