“Daisies” by Mary Oliver, Not Stanley Kunitz

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)
 

From Mary Oliver’s Book Here
Buy Stanley Kunitz’s book here

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