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" If the world is a tree,

we are the blossoms "



September 23rd, 2015

gorgeous owl pic

I have just listened to a wonderful poem by Mary Oliver on The Writer’s Almanac, a great site that has a daily podcast with Garrison Keillor. Garrison recites a different poem every day plus literary birthdays and events relevant to that date in history. The link to the site and the Mary Oliver poem can be found here but I have included the words below for you to savour. Forgive the prose structure – I haven’t been able to find a written copy of the poem.

Mary Oliver’s use of language and theme never fails to inspire, move and excite. The poem’s title is very apt…


When the owl on her plush and soundless wings rises from the black waves of the oak leaves or floats out of the needles of the pines that are moaning, that are tossing, I think, ‘Oh, she’s beautiful!’, with her eyes like burning moons, with her feet like twisted braids of old gold, flexing and curling. And I’m glad to see her, some wild loyalty has me to the root of the heart, even when she ruffles down into the field and jabs like a mad thing, and it is hopeless, it’s also wonderful, and I thank whatever made her, this beast of a bird with her thick breast and her shimmering wings, whose nest in the dark trees is trimmed with screams and bones, whose beak is the most terrible cup I will ever enter.

Beauty by Mary Oliver from What Do We Know. © Da Capo Press, 2002.

2 Responses to “Beauty”

  1. Wonderful, Philip.Thank you’.(I don’t think the poem loses anything by its prose format, and perhaps enhances her description of the terrible beauty of that wonderful ‘creature of the night’.)Very appropriate also (for me anyway)as it’s the Equinox as Owl is of course the messenger of the Goddess!
    I shall be out in the inky blackness of my ‘fantasy island’ tonight, listening (and hoping)to hear her call as I go through my ritual.
    Thsnks again for a great and thoughts-provoking post.

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