Posts Tagged ‘wild and precious life’

This is a Mary Oliver poem (you may know her for the quote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”) called Rage. I read it this afternoon, and I was undone.

What’s more, someone who borrowed the book before me wrote in pencil, “Child abuse?” There’s no question, and I’d venture to say it’s sexual abuse from the context. Her work is beautiful, in my opinion. Please, enjoy.
You are the dark song
of the morning;
serious and slow,
you shave, you dress,
you descend the stairs
in your public clothes
and drive away, you become
the wise and powerful one
who makes all the days
possible in the world.
But you were also the red song
in the night,
stumbling through the house
to the child’s bed,
to the damp rose of her body,
leaving your bitter taste.
And forever those nights snarl
the delicate machinery of the days.
When the child’s mother smiles
you see on her cheekbones
a truth you will never confess;
and you see how the child grows–
timidly, crouching in corners.
Sometimes in the wide night
you hear the most mournful cry,
a ravished and terrible moment.
In your dreams she’s a tree
that will never come to leaf–
in your dreams she’s a watch
you dropped on the dark stones
till no one could gather the fragments–
in your dreams you have sullied and murdered,
and dreams do not lie.

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