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In Blackwater Woods | Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
patrick_vecchio
Mar. 6th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
Starting with "every year," this poem turns into a heart punch. Its impact is almost physical. Thank you for posting this.
createdestiny
Mar. 10th, 2012 04:24 am (UTC)
I've read this poem many times, and "every year" has never struck me until you pointed it out.
cwmackowski
Mar. 6th, 2012 05:26 am (UTC)
I love her poetry. Thanks for sharing.
tea_drinker77
Mar. 9th, 2012 07:53 pm (UTC)
Wonderful poem
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )