Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject of Faith by Mary Oliver

Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun's brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can't hear

anything, I can't see anything --
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green
stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker --
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing --
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet --
all of it
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body
is sure to be there.


  1. I love this poem! I hadn't heard of Mary Oliver before but I shall look out for more by her. I love the description of growth, especially in the fourth verse...the 'green gowns lofting up in the night' and then the 'tick of the leaves'. It has a very tactile, all-senses-aware feel and it really reminds me of how I used to feel looking out over the fields by my parents house in the evenings (back when I was a girl).
    Thanks for sharing this! :)

  2. Thanks Ann, Mary Oliver is my favorite contemporary poet. I have included many of her poems on my blog so far. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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