Monday, June 11, 2018

"Evidence" by Mary Oliver (2009)

I wanted to keep this poem forever.  I love it.



Where do I live? If I had no address, as many people
do not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in the
same town as the lilies of the field, and the still

Spring, and all through the neighborhood now there are
strong men tending flowers.

Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue. But
all beautiful things, inherently, have this function—
to excite the viewers toward sublime thought. Glory
to the world, that good teacher.

Among the swans there is none called the least, or
the greatest.

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in
singing, especially when singing is not necessarily

As for the body, it is solid and strong and curious
and full of detail; it wants to polish itself; it
wants to love another body; it is the only vessel
in the world that can hold, in a mix of power
and sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,
ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.


There are many ways to perish, or to flourish.

How old pain, for example, can stall us at the
threshold of function.

Memory: a golden bowl, or a basement without light.

For which reason the nightmare comes with its
painful story and says: you need to know this.

Some memories I would give anything to forget.
Others I would not give up upon the point of
death, they are the bright hawks of my life.

Still, friends, consider stone, that is without
the fret of gravity, and water that is without

And the pine trees that never forget their
recipe for renewal.

And the female wood duck who is looking this way
and that way for her children. And the snapping
turtle who is looking this way and that way also.
This is the world.

And consider, always, every day, the determination
of the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles.


I ask you again: if you have not been enchanted by
this adventure—your life—what would do for

And, where are you, with your ears bagged down
as if with packets of sand? Listen. We all
have much more listening to do. Tear the sand
away. And listen. The river is singing.

What blackboard could ever be invented that
could hold all the zeros of eternity?

Let me put it this way—if you disdain the
cobbler may I assume you walk barefoot?

Last week I met the so-called deranged man
who lives in the woods. He was walking with
great care, so as not to step on any small,
living thing.

For myself, I have walked in these woods for
more than forty years, and I am the only
thing, it seems, that is about to be used up.
Or, to be less extravagant, will, in the
foreseeable future, be used up.


First, though, I want to step out into some
fresh morning and look around and hear myself
crying out: “The house of money is falling!
The house of money is falling! The weeds are
rising! The weeds are rising!”

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