Sunday, June 18, 2006

By Mary Oliver

This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing

better to do
than listen.
I mean this

In Greece,
a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door

to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,

but gods.
It is my favorite story--
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give

but their willingness
to be attentive--
but for this alone
the gods loved them

and blessed them--
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water

from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,

and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down--
but still they asked for nothing

but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.

Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said

I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying

through my own soul,
opening its dark doors--
I was leaning out;
I was listening.


Dan said...


Rauf said...

Every one always has something to give Don. Every one is rich, some are not aware of it.

Mike said...

This one feels like a great monologue in the speaker's mind. I love how you weaved the story from Ancient Greece in there (I'm not familiar with this story--where's it from?), and the poem works as a great reminder that we are, just now, and that is what is important.

Don Iannone said...

I would remind all of you...this poem was written by Mary Oliver. She deserves ALl the credit.

It is a lovely and power poem.

Imemine said...

better to do
than listen

Don Iannone said...

Imemine...listening can be doing and doing can be listening. Don't you think?

Liquidplastic said...

To listen is everything, to hear is better. You not only listen, you heard.

Don Iannone said...

Thanks Amias. Mary Oliver did a wonderful job on this poem.

Friends' Blogs