Monday, January 17, 2011


by Mary Oliver

Now comes the white-striped, sharp-nosed digger of dampness
in her black and oily coat.
All night in the moonlight she has been wandering
the stony beach; now she steps
into the gardens and under the street lights
like a flat cat.

Her eyes are gleaming and her tail aloft, she is afraid
of nothing--not dogs, not policemen who see her
and do not remove themselves from their cruisers, but sail on
down the dark roads.

Everything is famous for something: the eagle for power,
the fox for cunning.
This one we know for her temper and also her smell,
which comes from the wicks of fire.
Yet once I watched and heard her, deep in the woods,
humming to herself as she carried
leaves into her humble house, that was nothing
but a scratched-out hole.

Take care you don't know anything in this world
too quickly or easily. Everything
is also a mystery, and has its own secret aura in the moonlight,
its private song.

If you meet her
don't be afraid, just stand still.
And, while you let her stare you down,

notice how she stamps her pretty, little feet.
Notice how she shines.

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