On A Lighter Note: another Mary Oliver poem

Look and See

This morning, at waterside, a sparrow flew
to a water rock and landed, by error, on the back
of an eider duck; lightly it fluttered off, amused.
The duck, too, was not provoked, but, you might say, was
laughing.

This afternoon a gull sailing over
our house was casually scratching
its stomach of white feathers with one
pink foot as it flew.

Oh Lord, how shining and festive is your gift to us, if we
only look, and see.

(Ok, so the picture is of a swan fishing, not an eider duck…)

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About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
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17 Responses to On A Lighter Note: another Mary Oliver poem

  1. Diane says:

    you’re right. It’s a light poem, a celebration.I like it.

  2. Kievas says:

    I tend to find God in the little things around us, as well.

  3. Jan says:

    “..if we only look and see.” What an invitation. Thank you. And I would not have noticed the “error” with the photograph if you hadn’t pointed it out–I only thought–what a lovely picture!

  4. Barbara B. says:

    good poem–great imagery!

  5. mompriest says:

    I really love the organic humor in this poem…the sparrow landing on an eider duck, and the duck it seems was laughing.I see lots of ducks, never seen one laugh. But I’ve seen my dogs smile and laugh, I believe it’s possible.And the gull scratching its belly while flying…Some days I need to see the humor, the joy, the fun in life.And as this poem describes it, humor is a natural part of life.

  6. mompriest says:

    Also, I am intrigued by the random seeming rhythm of this poem. No rhyming words, no repeating syllables to create a rhythm. It’s more “random” and yet not. Oliver seems to break all the rules of poetry and make up new ones.And I still have been unable to get her poetry handbook out of the library. Ciardi’s was good, but I want to read hers too.Any one have any other thoughts about this poem?

  7. Diane says:

    I agree, that there is a random feeling… line lengths don’t have a particular rhythm, and “laughing” is on a line by itself.maybe it’s a way of saying, it’s not so serious.but the message, “look and see”… hmmm.

  8. mompriest says:

    Yes. There is a playfulness in the way the words are arranged. I love that laughing is its own line.then, there is a more serious tone to the “look and see” – I think because we so often go through the motions doing neither… which then points us right back to why we should – when we look and see all kinds of things are going on!

  9. Serena says:

    I love the playful reminder of the very basic message of God’s creating all things good, to love and enjoy each other, giving honor and glory to God. What more honors God than enjoying the simple gifts of life. Look and see, indeed.

  10. Diane says:

    I think the words “in error” are a little disjunction, mirroring what happens to the rhythm when the bird lands by mistake. rhythm is broken.I had a cat once who liked to jump up on the toilet seat in the morning to watch me get ready for work. One day she jumped — and the toilet seat was up. Ooops!I think of things like this…the poem is like a little joke…

  11. Barbara B. says:

    really insightful comments!(and, by the way, mompriest, offspring #1 has her ‘simpsonize’ tricks posted in my comments section)

  12. mompriest says:

    Yes, diane, I think that’s right. “by error” points us to the rest of the poem and all the little “errors” it describes…I mean, have you ever seen a bird scratch its belly while flying? I’ve not, but my, how funny that would be!

  13. Diane says:

    I actually think it would be hilarious!

  14. revabi says:

    I like the poem, the picture and the thought. Thank you so much for this.

  15. Diane says:

    I’m sorry I forgot to link to it this time. Things just seem to be a little chaotic around here lately…I promise to do better next time.

  16. mompriest says:

    diane, you must have your hands full…i understand, although I must confess…even though I’ve read your blog lately, I didn’t even think about a link… things being a bit chaotic here with vacation stuff.

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