“Spring” by Mary Oliver

by Mary Oliver


a black bear

has just risen from sleep

and is staring


down the mountain.

All night

in the brisk and shallow restlessness

of early spring


I think of her,

her four black fists

flicking the gravel,

her tongue


like a red fire

touching the grass,

the cold water.

There is only one question:


how to love this world.

I think of her


like a black and leafy ledge


to sharpen her claws against

the silence

of the trees.

Whatever else


my life is

with its poems

and its music

and its glass cities,


it is also this dazzling darkness


down the mountain,

breathing and tasting;


all day I think of her—

her white teeth,

her wordlessness,

her perfect love.


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