Quote of the day: ECSTASTIC UNION

December 27, 2011


“Summer Story”

When the hummingbird
sinks its face
into the trumpet vine,
into the funnels

of the blossoms
and the tongue
leaps out
and throbs,

I am scorched
to realize once again
how many small, available things
are in this world

that aren’t
pieces of gold
or power——-
that nobody owns

or could buy even
for a hillside of money—–
that just float
in the world,

or drift over the fields,
or into the gardens,
and into the tents of the vines,
and now here I am

spending my time,
as the saying goes,
watching until the watching turns into feeling,
so that I feel I am myself

a small bird with a terrible hunger,
with a thin beak probing and dipping
and a heart that races so fast

it is only a heart beat ahead of breaking——
and I am the hunger and the assuagement,
and also I am the leaves and the blossoms,
and, like them, I am full of delight, and shaking.

— Mary Oliver


2 Responses to “Quote of the day: ECSTASTIC UNION”

  1. Stephen V. Says:

    This is a beautiful poem, Don, and I’m grateful to you for bringing it to your readers’ attention.

    One of my rare regrets concerning your otherwise excellent pieces on the contents of The New Yorker is that you seldom, if ever, mention the poetry printed therein.

    While I sometimes think that the poetry found in that magazine often, disappointingly, represents the lesser efforts of poets who happen to be well known (at least to those who read modern poetry), there are still some remarkable “finds” to be made, but those of us who don’t subscribe to The New Yorker are apt to miss them without the help of someone like you to point them out to us.

    Please consider adding this to your list of “services.”

    • dshewey Says:

      Thanks for your note, Steve. I have once in a while admired and drawn attention to a poem published in the New Yorker, but like you I mostly don’t find them especially noteworthy. My daily dose of poetry comes from Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac — not 100% great stuff, but out of 365 a year there are at least a dozen that hit me where it counts.

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