Last night I had in my hand what I thought was a book of poetry by Stanley Kunitz. As I read the poem I was gratified that I had finally found another poem, besides “Layers” and “The Snakes of September” by Kunitz, that resonated for me. As I closed the book to look for a post-it strip to mark the poem with, I realized that I had actually grabbed a Mary Oliver book. Poor Stanley. At least I reached for you. At least I tried. You’re still revered and your book, Passing Through, is still the National Book Award Winner.
Meanwhile, here is Daisies by Mary Oliver
It is possible, I suppose, that sometime we will learn everything there is to learn: what the world is, for example, and what it means. I think this as I am crossing from one field to another, in summer, and the mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either knows enough already or knows enough to be perfectly content not knowing. Song being born of quest he knows this: he must turn silent were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly unanswered. At my feet the white-petaled daisies display the small suns of their center-piece, their--if you don't mind my saying so--their hearts. Of course I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know. But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given, to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly; for example--I think this as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch-- the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the daisies for the field. (Mary Oliver)