Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, January 10, 2005

Poppies (Mary Oliver)

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn’t a place
in this world that doesn’t

sooner or later drown
in the indigoes of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But also I say this: that light
is an invitation to happiness,
and that happiness,
when it’s done right,

is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,
touched by their rough and spongy gold,

I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight--
and what are you going to do--

what can you do
about it--
deep, blue night?


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