A Poem by Mary Oliver (for Tanza)
Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond
As for life
I’m without words
sufficient to say
how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over,
and long pale aftenoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen –
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of holiness.
Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort –
along with human love,
dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about
stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,
and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
As for death,
I can’t wait to be the hummingbird,