I've been trying to choose a poem about love to post today, as I've done on Valentine's Day in the past...but instead of a poem on romance or partnership or marriage, this is the one that came to mind, reflecting on love of a different kind. I stand here in "my old boots and torn coat, no longer young," and send it to you....
by Mary Oliver
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to
the sleepydug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
The poem above is from Thirst by Mary Oliver (Beacon Press, 2006); all rights reserved by the Oliver estate. The photographs are by Howard Gayton, and the little sketch of me and Tilly is a detail from a preparatory drawing by David Wyatt for his lovey painting In the Word Wood. The poem in the picture captions is one of mine, called "Listen."