February 25, 2021
black bear in a stream

A Poem

I love Mary Oliver. Who doesn’t? Her poems are introspective but relatable, firmly rooted in the perspective of natural wonder.

So for today’s Covid-19 distraction (you won’t have to look away from the news for long), here’s a poem.


by Mary Oliver

Photo by Chris Geirman on Unsplash
   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
         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 glass cities,

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

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

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