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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Messenger


(Detail of the illustration for June, the Harvest, from the illuminated manuscript of a Book of Hours commissioned
by John, Duke of Berry, France, around 1410)

“Friendship seems to hold states together,” said Aristotle (384-322 B. C.) in Nicomachean Ethics. “When men are friends, they have no need of justice, while when they are just, they need friendship as well, and the truest form of justice is thought to be a friendly quality.”

MESSENGER

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

~ Mary Oliver, born in 1935, American poet

1 comment:

dylan said...

This is from Thirst, I think -- one of my favorite books of hers! (The other is Evidence.) Thank you for this poem this morning!