Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat of the sweet grass? Will the owl bite off its own wings? Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or forget to sing? Will the rivers run upstream?
Behold, I say — behold the reliability and the finery and the teachings of this gritty earth gift…
Eat bread and understand comfort. Drink water and understand delight. Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds who are drinking the sweetness, who are thrillingly gluttonous.
For one thing leads to another. Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot. Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.
from “To Begin With, the Sweet Grass” ~ Mary Oliver
Comments always are welcome.
The native Texas grass shown in the photo, giant bristle grass (Setaria magna) occurs in only a few counties, primarily along the upper coast.
For the complete text of Mary Oliver’s poem, please click here.
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
the phoebe, the delphinium,
the sheep in the pasture, and the pasture —
which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.