Now, a Picture and a Poem

Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.
The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves…
for long delicious moments it is perfect
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.
The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice: now,
he said, and now.
and never once mentioned forever,
which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.

One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond…
some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.
But to lift the hoof!
For that you need an idea.

For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“don’t love your life
too much,” it said,
and vanished into the world.

— Mary Oliver (from Dream Work)

One Response to “Now, a Picture and a Poem”
  1. annasalts 24 April 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    'the god of dirt' – I love that.

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