Friday, May 06, 2005

To Do One Thing Well

Mary Oliver challenges me. She opens my eyes to a world of stunning glory, and yet a world I cannot fully understand. In the midst of life and death, she finds wonder, and remind me of my longing to live well.

The Kingfisher

By Mary Oliver

The kingfisher rises out of the black wave
like a blue flower, in his beak
he carries a silver leaf. I think this is
the prettiest world—so long as you don’t mind
a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life
that doesn’t have its splash of happiness?
there are more fish than there are leaves
on a thousand trees, and anyway the kingfisher
wasn’t born to think about it, or anything else.
when the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the water
remains water—hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could believe.
I don’t say he’s right. Neither
do I say he’s wrong. Religiously he swallows the silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and easy cry
I couldn’t rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Mary Oliver is perhaps our greatest living poet. Well, in my opinion. Thanks for the poem, a real beauty. I came over here from Transforming Sermons. Keep up the great blogging!