Listen, says ambition, why don’t you get going?


Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,
or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
and comfort.

Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.

But to tell the truth after a while I’m pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen
and you can’t keep me from the woods, from the tonnage
of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.

Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a
little sunshine, a little rain.

Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another — why don’t you get going?

For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.

And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money,

I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.

Mary Oliver, “Black Oaks” in West Wind




  1. me neither..


  2. Wow…I’ve never read that poem by Mary Oliver before…wonderful. Thanks David.


  3. Ditto, especially on a Sunday morning.


  4. With quiet comes absorbsion. Our mind needs these times to take in our thoughts allowing them to settle in a way that allows them to direct our path of life and not just become a forgotten distant thought. Great post!


  5. I’m hanging with you two… 🙂


  6. Ohhhh. Love this one.


  7. I don’t know how Mary Oliver does it. She nails it, whatever it is, every time.


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