are so perfect
I can hardly believe
their lapped light crowding
Nobody could count all of them—
But what in this world
I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided—
and that one wears an orange blight—
and this one is a glossy cheek
half nibbled away—
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking
into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.
~Mary Oliver from “The Ponds”
of the lilies
quicken, they rise
like pale poles
with their wrapped beaks of lace;
they tear the surface,
the next they break open
over the dark water.
And there you are
on the shore,
fitful and thoughtful, trying
to attach them to an idea —
some news of your own life.
But the lilies
are slippery and wild—they are
devoid of meaning, they are
from the deepest
spurs of their being,
what they are impelled to do
And so, dear sorrow, are you.
~Mary Oliver from “The Lilies Break Forth over the Dark Water”
If you have forgotten water lilies floating
On a dark lake among mountains in the afternoon shade,
If you have forgotten their wet, sleepy fragrance,
Then you can return and not be afraid.
But if you remember, then turn away forever
To the plains and the prairies where pools are far apart,
There you will not come at dusk on closing water lilies,
And the shadow of mountains will not fall on your heart.