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Reckless Poem by Mary Oliver

I think I’m going crazy. I haven’t had proper coffee for days now and I feel like crawling out of my skin. Have you ever felt that?

A few weeks ago, my father and I had coffee. I told him how much I loved him by putting sugar in his cup. I didn’t think he noticed.

Once, I was not myself. I was so angry, and I couldn’t find the words. I open my mouth, close it, open it again. That was the point I understood what being speechless meant. My heart has robbed me from all thought, all language. I felt helpless. I threw things (mostly pencils). My sister told my father, “She’s not feeling very human right now.”

I am starting to write again. The door is open.

Reckless Poem
Mary Oliver

Today again I am hardly myself.
It happens over and over.
It is heaven-sent.

It flows through me
like the blue wave.
Green leaves — you may believe this or not —
have once or twice
emerged from the tips of my fingers

deep in the woods,
in the reckless seizure of spring.

Though, of course, I also know that other song,
the sweet passion of one-ness.

Just yesterday I watched an ant crossing a path, through the
         tumbled pine needles she toiled.
And I thought: she will never live another life but this one.
And I thought: if she lives her life with all her strength
         is she not wonderful and wise?
And I continued this up the miraculous pyramid of everything
         until I came to myself.

And still, even in these northern woods, on these hills of sand,
I have flown from the other window of myself
to become white heron, blue whale,
         red fox, hedgehog.
Oh, sometimes already my body has felt like the body of a flower!
Sometimes already my heart is a red parrot, perched
among strange, dark trees, flapping and screaming.

Comments (2)

  • Happy to hear the door is open….and thank you for this one from Mary Oliver. Michelle

  • That is just how I felt when I woke up. I wrote a poem in response and it seems to have gotten lost in the reply. How perfect!


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