My wife came across this gem by Mary Oliver, who died just a little over a year ago. I first encountered Oliver’s work in “The Black Walnut Tree” as a free response question on the AP English Literature exam. Since then, I’ve been starving for more Oliver! This piece is just what the doctor ordered for such a time as this. Be sure to savor those final three to five lines, especially. Enjoy!
A Dream of Trees – Mary Oliver
There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.
There is a thing in me still dreams of trees.
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.
I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?