Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Spirit Likes to Dress Up Like This

The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,
shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning
in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather
plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,
lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body’s world,
and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
and tangibility,
to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is —
so it enters us —
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;
and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.

Mary Oliver
Photo:  Peter Bowers