Tuesday, May 24, 2011



Each one is a small life, but sometimes long, if its
place in the universe is not found out. Like us, they
have a heart and a stomach; they know hunger, and
probably a little satisfaction too. Do not mock them
for their gentleness, they have a muscle that loves
being alive. They pull away from the light. They pull
down. They hold themselves together. They refuse to

But sometimes they lose their place and are tumbled
shoreward in a storm. Then they pant, they fill
with sand, they have no choice but must open the
smallest crack. Then the fire of the world touches
them. Perhaps, on such days, they too begin the
terrible effort of thinking, of wondering who, and 
what, and why. If they can bury themselves again in 
the sand they will. If not, they are sure to perish,
though not quickly. They also have resources beyond 
the flesh; they also try very hard not to die.

~ Mary Oliver
from What Do We Know

with thanks to whiskeyriver