Saturday, August 2, 2014

"Little Summer Poem Touching the Subject of Faith" by Mary Oliver

Kansas Cornfield, by John Steuart Curry, 1933

Every summer
        I listen and look
                 under the sun's brass and even
                         in the moonlight, but I can't hear

anything, I can't see anything—
        not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up,
                 nor the leaves
                         deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
        nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
                 And still,
                         every day,

the leafy fields
        grow taller and thicker—
                 green gowns lifting up in the night,
                         showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
        I fail as a witness, seeing nothing—
                 I am deaf too
                         to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet—
        all of it
                 happening
                         beyond all seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
        Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
                 Let the wind turn in the trees,
                         and the mystery hidden in dirt

swing through the air.
        How could I look at anything in this world
                 and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
                         What should I fear?

One morning
        in the leafy green ocean
                 the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body
                         is sure to be there.

"Little Summer Poem Touching the Subject of Faith" by Mary Oliver, from West Wind. © Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

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