Mary Oliver, American Primitive, Color Trilogy
White Forest (following The Bobcat)
In the white forest, do we get lost
Or do we find the branch from which
We will swing like children once again
The smile on our faces like a revelation?
In the white forest, to our delight,
Do we discover we had been lost only
When we thought we knew our way
To be found when puzzled by the path
That seemed over grown and protected
By raspberry bushes with their spikes?
Our intoxicated promise we made ourselves
When we made it through to here
Our skin’s scratches will soon heal,
The laughter we share on our backs
Looking up at the descending darkness
Where we see the pattern of the stars
In the white forest, we traipse drunk
On what we hoped for in parts
Of our soul we had never heard,
Too busy not climbing our trees.
Black Ponds (following Blossoms)
Told how ponds opened their black blossoms
To the moon to let the light in,
I bared my black chest,
Charred from burning my heart
As if it were a simple tree that could be replanted
After razing for some short material gain grazed
From the soil like cattle soon to be slaughtered for
You. For me. For us. Now… always now, I write
As if everyday I am compelled to do something
That slipped away, forgotten like hay chewed to cud.
I am now alive. Like the pond, my heart open
To let the moon inside; to let you inside
Where we can swim before we lie down beside
The fire we lit to warm flesh cold from winter.
Autumn Ablaze (following Humpbacks)
For a moment, the world seemed defined by black blossom’d
Ponds and white forests to get lost in, to find our way; a moon,
To guide us until harvest our hearts ablaze with the forest of fall.
Autumn, you say.
I ask, “No words, please, just look at this…
This fire of trees, life lived so fully these intervening months
That the only fitting end is to be ablaze; magnificent!
These flames, see?” The black blossom’d pond and white forests
Await us, but for now, let the fire throb for our quiet song.
(C) 2020 Stephen Fuller