This Morning I Watched the Deer
by Mary Oliver
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.
and into the impossible trees.
Words: The poem above is from Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver (Beacon Press, 2004); all rights reserved by the author. Pictures: An illustration from The Book of Fairy Poetry by Warwick Goble (1920), "The White Hind" by Arthur Hughes (1870), and deer in Devon.