Friday, March 12, 2021

the teachers

Owl in the black morning,
   mockingbird in the burning
      slants of the sunny afternoon
         declare so simply

to the world
   everything I have tried but still
      haven't been able
         to put into words,

so I do not go
   far from that school
      with its star-bright
         or blue ceiling,

and I listen to those teachers,
   and others too -
      the wind in the trees
         and the water waves -

for they are what lead me
   from the dryness of self
      where I labor
         with the mind-steps of language -

lonely, as we all are
   in the singular,
      I listen hard
         to the exuberances

of the mockingbird and the owl,
   the waves and the wind.
      And then, like peace after perfect speech,
         such stillness.

Mary Oliver
Photo:  Peter Bowers