Mary Oliver Mondays: Snow Geese #Poetry #Geese #Birds #Busyness #Fall #MaryOliver

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Fall and Mary Oliver today. From a wonderful collection of poetry titled Why I Wake Early. Admittedly, waking early isn’t in my vocabulary, save for the demand my job puts upon me as a high school English teacher. But for sights such as these, I would race the sun out of bed, “[t]o love what is lovely, and will not last!” Reading this poem tonight reminded me that very few people truly stop to see things these days. May this poem be the balm for all our screen-seared eyes (ironically, that you read on a screen) and a cure for the crippling disease of busyness.

Snow Geese by Mary Oliver

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
           What a task
                to ask

of anything, or anyone,

yet it is ours,
      and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.

One fall day I heard
      above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was

a flock of snow geese, winging it
      faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun

so they were, in part at least, golden. I

held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us

as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,

but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.

The geese
flew on,
I have never
seen them again.

Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly. 

From Why I Wake Early: New Poems by Mary Oliver, published by Beacon Press, Boston, 2004: pgs. 34-35.

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