Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Peonies -- Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
 to break my heart
 as the sun rises,
 as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

 and they open -
 pools of lace,
 white and pink -
 and all day the black ants climb over them,

 boring their deep and mysterious holes
 into the curls,
 craving the sweet sap,
 taking it away

 to their dark, underground cities -
 and all day
 under the shifty wind,
 as in a dance to the great wedding,

 the flowers bend their bright bodies,
 and tip their fragrance to the air,
 and rise,
 their red stems holding

 all that dampness and recklessness
 gladly and lightly,
 and there it is again -
 beauty the brave, the exemplary,

 blazing open.
 Do you love this world?
 Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
 Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

 Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
 and softly,
 and exclaiming of their dearness,
 fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

 with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
 their eagerness
 to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
 nothing, forever?