Saturday, September 20, 2014



Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even,
while it calls the earth its home, the soul.
So the merciful, noisy machine
stands in our house working away in its
lung-like voice.  I hear it as I kneel
before the fire, stirring with a
stick of iron, letting the logs
lie more loosely.  You, in the upstairs room,
are in your usual position, leaning on your
right shoulder which aches
all day.  You are breathing
patiently; it is a
beautiful sound.  It is
your life, which is so close
to my own that I would not know
where to drop the knife of
separation.  And what does this have to do
with love, except
everything?  Now the fire rises
and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red
roses of flame.  Then it settles
to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds
as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift:
our purest, sweet necessity: the air.

–Mary Oliver


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