Remembering the Pulitzer-winning poet who wrote of things around us
It was a Mary Oliver morning, meaning that a storm was coming and we could see the squirrels frantically digging and searching for more. The sun was hazy, as the clouds began crowding the sky. The dog nosed my bare hand with something that felt like love
It was a Mary Oliver morning, because we stood quietly for a moment to hear birds calling, birds warning, and we listened for the wind that we knew is coming.
It was a Mary Oliver morning because the world around us was made up of trees and animals and incoming storms and of the people who were waiting patiently to observe it all.
The dog’s water bowl was filled with a perfect circle of ice, two Japanese maple leaves frozen inside. One leaf, the larger, seemed to protect the smaller. It was a Mary Oliver morning, although she is gone, because the vast bowl of the sky remains and the rest of us will keep watch on the world around us.
Driving Through the Wind River Reservation: A Poem of Black Bear
Mary Oliver, from her book Dream Work
In the time of snow, in the time of sleep.
The rivers themselves changed into links
of white iron, holding everything. Once
she woke deep in the leaves under
the fallen tree and peered
through the loose bark and saw him:
a tall white bone
with thick shoulders, like a wrestler,
roaring the saw-toothed music
of wind and sleet, legs pumping
up and down the hills.
Well, she thought, he’ll wear himself out
running around like that.
She slept again
while he drove on through the trees,
snapping off the cold pines, gasping,
rearranging over and over
the enormous drifts. Finally one morning
the sun rose up like a pot of blood
and his knees buckled.
Well, she whispered from the leaves,
that’s that. In the distance
the ice began to boom and wrinkle
and a dampness
that could not be defeated began
to come from her, her breathing
enlarged, oh, tender mountain, she rearranged
herself so that the cubs
could slide from her body, so that the rivers