Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Poet Goes to Indiana by Mary Oliver


I'll tell you a half-dozen things
that happened to me
in Indiana
when I went that far west to teach.
You tell me if it was worth it.

I lived in the country
with my dog—
part of the bargain of coming.
And there was a pond
with fish from, I think, China.
I felt them sometimes against my feet.
Also, they crept out of the pond, along its edges,
to eat the grass.
I'm not lying.
And I saw coyotes,
two of them, at dawn, running over the seemingly
unenclosed fields.
And once a deer, but a buck, thick-necked, leaped
into the road just-oh, I mean just, in front of my car—
and we both made it home safe.
And once the blacksmith came to care for the four horses,
or the three horses that belonged to the owner of the house,
and I bargained with him, if I could catch the fourth,
he, too, would have hooves trimmed
for the Indiana winter,
and apples did it,
and a rope over the neck did it,
so I won something wonderful;
and there was, one morning,
an owl
flying, oh pale angel, into
the hay loft of a barn,
I see it still;
and there was once, oh wonderful,
a new horse in the pasture,
a tall, slim being-a neighbor was keeping her there—
and she put her face against my face,
put her muzzle, her nostrils, soft as violets,
against my mouth and my nose, and breathed me,
to see who I was,
a long quiet minute-minutes—
then she stamped feet and whisked tail
and danced deliciously into the grass away, and came back.
She was saying, so plainly, that I was good, or good enough.
Such a fine time I had teaching in Indiana.

4 comments:

  1. THAT was beautiful! My sis lives in Indiana, has for years, and I've still not visited her there.

    Thanks so much for your sweet comment at my blog. I left you a message there but wanted to let you know it meant a lot to me.

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  2. There is nothing
    so poetry
    as real life,
    anywhere,
    but Indiana
    this time.

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  3. Oh, I love this poem and Mary Oliver. Mkaes want to be hear a horse, NOW :-).

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  4. Not sure what happened in my comment, but I meant to write: it makes me want to be near a horse NOW :-).

    ReplyDelete

Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)