After Mary Oliver’s “The Swan” and “Wild Geese”

“Did you, too, see it” resting all morning on the exposed ledge at the river?

Did you see it unmoved by the cormorants and the buzz saws,

its neck curled into itself in regal repose?

No need to be labeled by name or species

but only to be planted by its own nature exactly where it landed

and for as long as it pleased.

Not boastful or haughty, not stalwart or shallow,

only, as Mary Oliver once intoned,

“how it pertained to everything. . . . ,”

never knowing beauty or ruin, poetry or damnation,

only realizing itself and, as Mary said,

“announcing [its] place in the family of things.”

You may find Oliver’s “The Swan” here and “Wild Geese” here.



pals / photo by shf

Do you know the feeling

of offering your dog a treat

and saying as your eyes fill

and your throat closes,

This is from other mommy,

but the muzzle turns away,

not tempted by trite bribery —

the loss too soon, the lie too ripe.

The dog knows.

She is gone.

The disappearance

a sharp absence,

trimming a new edge.