How I Go to the Woods, by Mary Oliver
Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they
are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging
the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of
a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.
This morning I watched the deer
with beautiful lips touching the tips
of the cranberries, setting their hooves down
in the dampness carelessly, isn’t it after all
the carpet of their house, their home, whose roof
is the sky?
Why, then, was I suddenly miserable?
Well, this is nothing much.
This is the heaviness of the body watching the swallows
gliding just under that roof.
This is the wish that the deer would not lift their heads
and leap away, leaving me there alone.
This is the wish to touch their faces, their brown wrists –
to sing some sparking poem into
the folds of their ears.
then walk with them,
over the hills
and over the hills
and into the impossible trees.
This Morning I Watched the Deer, by Mary Oliver
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