how the spirit likes to dress up

blue-branches-cathie-tylerphoto by Cathie Tyler


Here’s a poem by Mary Oliver:



The spirit

   likes to dress up like this:    

  ten fingers,  

      ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest

   at night    

   in the black branches      

    in the morning

in the blue branches 

    of the world.     

   It could float, of course,       

    but would rather

plumb rough mattter.

   Airy and shapeless thing,   

    it needs     

     the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,  

  the oceanic fluids;  

     it needs the body’s world,    


 and imagination  

  and the dark hug of time  


  and tangibility

to be understood,  

  to be more than pure light    

   that burns      

    where no one is —



dark hug of time



tiny toes

<a href=””>Instinct</a&gt;

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

One thought on “how the spirit likes to dress up

  1. Yessssssssss! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! My favorite poem in the world, delivered to me by the universe at the perfect moment, is by Mary Oliver. “Wild Geese” is a permanent fixture on my site (and tattooed on my fingers, which makes it odd trying to explain to people that I don’t like geese.)

    Liked by 1 person

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