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More poems by Mary OliverMary Oliver | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments | Books by Mary OliverBooks by Mary Oliver

The Chance To Love Everything

Mary Oliver

All summer I made friends 
with the creatures nearby ---
they flowed through the fields
and under the tent walls,
or padded through the door, 
grinning through their many teeth,  
looking for seeds,
suet, sugar; muttering and humming, 
opening the breadbox, happiest when
there was milk and music. But once
in the night I heard a sound 
outside the door, the canvas 
bulged slightly ---something
was pressing inward at eye level.
I watched, trembling, sure I had heard
the click of claws, the smack of lips
outside my gauzy house ---
I imagined the red eyes, 
the broad tongue, the enormous lap. 
Would it be friendly too?
Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madness 
but with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
shambling tonnage.
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it?
Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope ---
the dark heart of the story that is all
the reason for its telling?

Added: 2 Mar 2002 | Last Read: 14 Dec 2018 5:57 PM | Viewed: 12966 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/3180/ | Viewed on 14 December 2018.
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