Tuesday, April 15, 2008



Oh do you have time
     to linger
       for just a little while
         out of your busy

and very important day
     for the goldfinches
       that have gathered
         in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
     to see who can sing
       the highest note,
         or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
     or the most tender?
       Their strong, blunt beaks
         drink the air

as they strive
       not for your sake
         and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
     but for sheer delight and gratitude—
       believe us, they say,
         it is a serious thing

just to be alive
     on this fresh morning
       in this broken world.
         I beg of you,

do not walk by
     without pausing
       to attend to this
         rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
     It could mean everything.
       It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
         You must change your life.

~ Mary Oliver

Reprinted without permission - Beacon Press, 2008

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