the dogs played, and then I would get restless and
get up and go off to the woods
and the fields, and the afternoon would
soften gradually and finally I would come
home, through the long shadows, and into the house
where she would be
my glorious welcoming, tan and hungry and ready to tell
the hurtless gossips of the day and how I
listened leisurely while I put
around the room flowers in jars of water—
daisies, butter-and-eggs, and everlasting—
until like our lives they trembled and shimmered
Reprinted from Thirst, © 2006 by Mary Oliver, by permission of Beacon Press, www.beacon.org.
Correction 01.03.11: It has been brought to our attention that the poem as printed in our Summer 2006 issue was not the final version that appeared in Thirst. This online version now matches that found in the book. We regret the oversight.
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Mary Oliver is a Pulitzer Prize—and National Book Award-winning poet. She will be the Ware Lecturer at the Unitarian Universalist Assocation (UUA) General Assembly in St. Louis in June 2006.
Growing up on Star Island
Looking back on my summers spent at a beloved Unitarian Universalist retreat.
We cannot hear unless there is silence.