Nothing Is Too Small Not to Be Wondered About by Mary Oliver

The cricket doesn’t wonder
if there’s a heaven
or, if there is, if there’s room for him.

It’s fall. Romance is over. Still, he sings.
If we can, he enters a house
through the tiniest crack under the door.
Then the house grows colder.

He sings slower and slower.
Then, nothing.

This must mean something, I don’t know what.
But certainly it doesn’t mean
he hasn’t been an excellent cricket
all his life.

by Mary Oliver

Night Herons

Some herons
were fishing
in the robes
of the night

at a low hour
of the water’s body
and the fish, I suppose,
were full

of fish happiness
in those transparent inches
even as, over and over,
the beaks jacked down

and the narrow
bodies were lifted
with every
quick sally,

and that was the end of them
as far as we know—
though, what do we know
except that death

is so everywhere and so entire—
pummeling and felling
or sometimes,
like this, appearing

through such a thin door—
one stab, and you’re through!
And what then?
Why, then it was almost morning,

and one by one
the birds
opened their wings
and flew.

— Mary Oliver

The Mockingbird

All summer
the mockingbird
in his pearl-gray coat
and his white-windowed wings

flies
from the hedge to the top of the pine
and begins to sing, but it’s neither
lilting nor lovely,

for he is the thief of other sounds–
whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges
plus all the songs
of other birds in his neighborhood;

mimicking and elaborating,
he sings with humor and bravado,
so I have to wait a long time
for the softer voice of his own life

to come through.  He begins
by giving up all his usual flutter
and settling down on the pine’s forelock
then looking around

as though to make sure he’s alone;
then he slaps each wing against his breast,
where his heart is,
and copying nothing, begins

easing into it
as though it was not half so easy
as rollicking,
as though his subject now

was his true self,
which of course was as dark and secret
as anyone else’s,
and it was too hard–

perhaps you understand–
to speak or to sing it
to anything or anyone
but the sky.

by Mary Oliver

Red Bird

Red bird came all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else could.

Of course I love the sparrows,
those dun-colored darlings
so hungry and so many.

I am a God-fearing feeder of birds.
I know He has many children,
not all of them bold in spirit.

Still, for whatever reason —
perhaps because the winter is so long
and the sky so black-blue,

or perhaps because the heart narrows
as often as it opens —
I am glad

that red bird comes all winter,
firing up the landscape
as nothing else can do.

by Mary Oliver