Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April is the Poemiest Month

I was going to post this tomorrow, right smack in the middle of the month, but that might interfere with our enjoyment of the pure poetry of tomorrow's festival of tea-baggery in wingnuttia. So here it is today, a poem for National Poetry Month:


In Japan, in Seattle, in Indonesia -- there they were --
each one loud and hungry,
crossing a field, or sitting
above the traffic, or dropping

to the lawn of some temple to sun itself
or walk about on strong legs,
like a landlord. I think
they don’t envy anyone or anything --

not the tiger, not the emperor,
not even the philosopher.
Why should they?
The wind is their friend, the least tree is home.

Nor is melody, they have discovered, necessary.
Nor have they delicate palates;
without hesitation they will eat
anything you can think of --

corn, mice, old hamburgers --
swallowing with such hollering and gusto
no one can tell whether it's a brag
or a prayer or deepest thanks. At sunrise, when I walk out,

I see them in trees, or on ledges of buildings,
as cheerful as saints, or thieves of the small job
who have been, one more night, successful --
and like all successes, it turns my thoughts to myself.

Should I have led a more simple life?
Have my ambitions been worthy?
Has the wind, for years, been talking to me as well?
Somewhere, among all my thoughts, there is a narrow path.

It's attractive, but who could follow it?
Slowly the full morning
draws over us its mysterious and lovely equation.
Then, in the branches poling from their dark center,

ever more flexible and bright,
sparks from the sun are bursting and melting on the birds' wings
as, indifferent and comfortable,
they lounge, they squabble in the vast, rose-colored light.

--Mary Oliver
Share a favorite poem of your own in comments, if you feel so inspired. (And thanks to my Mary for suggesting providing this poem to me.)