one of her best, methinks …


a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

 down the mountain.

All night
in the brisk and shallow

restlessness of early spring

 I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue 

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.

There is only one question:

how to love this world.

I think of her rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence of the trees.

Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
coming down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her –
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(House of Light)

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