By Mary OliverPhoto by Gordon Osmundson, 1999.
There is a tree here so beautiful it even has a name. Every morning, when it is still dark, I stand under its branches. They flow from the thick and silent trunk. One can’t begin to imagine their weight. Year after year they reach, they send out smaller and smaller branches, and bunches of flat green leaves, to touch the light.
Of course this has consequences. Every year the oak tree fills with fruit. Just now, since it is September, the acorns are starting to fall.
I don’t know if I will ever write another poem. I don’t know if I am going to live for a long time yet, or even for a while.
But I am going to spend my life wisely. I’m going to be happy, and frivolous, and useful. Every morning, in the dark, I gather a few acorns and imagine, inside of them, the pale oak trees. In the spring, when I go away, I’ll take them with me, to my own country, which is a land of sun and restless ocean and moist woods. And I’ll dig down, I’ll hide each acorn in a cool place in the black earth.
To rise like a slow and beautiful poem. To live a long time.