This poem was recommended to me by Amber Stoner. I don’t generally need convincing to read and recite Mary Oliver, but I didn’t know this poem, and I’m so glad Amber brought it to my attention.
It’s been summer wandering weather here in the Pacific Northwest for several weeks running, and I’ve gratefully spoken this poem to uncountable small woods and edges all over the SW Portland metro. It harmonizes so naturally with the aqueous emerald light, the foxgloved fencelines and fogbound mornings of this time of year.
For those who are counting: yes, I undertook to recite two poems each month, and this makes three. I’m sure there will be another time when this poem feels so in season. But Annie Dillard’s words come to mind when I start thinking like this. Spend it all at once, she says, don’t hold anything back. To withhold a gift for some undetermined later is to lose it.
She’s talking about a person’s own creations, and this poem is not that. But her advice echoes for me, in many arenas. This moment is all we have, ever. I want to fill it with poetry.