What the soul is supposed to be – Poetry Monday

I have been shockingly neglectful of Poetry Monday this last month, but health scares in my family and needless deaths in my community have sent me to poetry, as trouble always does. Mary Oliver is a favorite and this poem is a good one. Have a soulful Monday.

Walking to Oak-Head Pond, and Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the Next Days and Weeks

Mary Oliver

What is so utterly invisible
as tomorrow?
Not love,
not the wind,

not the inside of stone.
Not anything.
And yet, how often I’m fooled-
I’m wading along

in the sunlight-
and I’m sure I can see the fields and the ponds shining
days ahead-
I can see the light spilling

like a shower of meteors
into next week’s trees,
and I plan to be there soon-
and, so far, I am

just that lucky,
my legs splashing
over the edge of darkness,
my heart on fire.

I don’t know where
such certainty comes from-
the brave flesh
or the theater of the mind-

but if I had to guess
I would say that only
what the soul is supposed to be
could send us forth

with such cheer
as even the leaf must wear
as it unfurls
its fragrant body, and shines

against the hard possibility of stoppage-
which, day after day,
before such brisk, corpuscular belief,
shudders, and gives way.

from What Do We Know, Volume V, Number 3, Summer 2001
Perseus Books Group

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About Tina Hoggatt

I am an artist and writer and work for 4Culture, King County's cultural arts organization.
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2 Responses to What the soul is supposed to be – Poetry Monday

  1. Tommy Smith says:

    I can’t thank you enough for this poem today. I have al
    ready visited Ellis Pond on Mercer Island this morning, but I needed this poem, too. Tommy, Lummi and I lost our Lulu last night and on this soulful Monday, I am grateful for poetry and for you.

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