Some Questions You Might Ask

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
Our question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?

(Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press, 1992)


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.
This entry was posted in Mary Oliver, poetry, Questions. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Some Questions You Might Ask

  1. Jan says:

    What good questions!

  2. revhipchick says:

    beautiful! thanks for sharing. one of the guys at the conference is a huge fan of Mary Oliver. i will have to check her out a bit more!

  3. Mompriest says:

    she's awesome – wrote one of my all time favorite, The Journey – you'd like it too.

  4. Robin says:

    I love this poem. I'm pretty sure that it was my introduction to Mary Oliver, via an assignment in the Lovely Daughter's 11h grade English class.

  5. I like this! I need to study more of her work. It always speaks to me.Thank you for sharing this one!

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