April 27, 2011

National Poetry Month: Peonies

I've been reading Mary Oliver's latest book of poems, Swan.  With her images and rhythms in my mind, it's hard to resist her words when it's time to offer a new poem for National Poetry Month. So I won't.

Peonies, to me, are the most ephemeral of flowers, and Oliver captures "their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment" exactly. Whatever today brings, "cherish your humble and silky life."


Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

--Mary Oliver

Image by Muffet, at Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License.

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