The Lilies Break Open Over the Dark Water

handmade greeting card, collage art


that mud-hive, that gas-sponge,

that reeking

leaf-yard, that rippling


dream-bowl, the leeches’

flecked and swirling

broth of life, as rich

as Babylon,


the fists crack

open and the wands

of the lilies

quicken, they rise


like pale poles

with their wrapped beaks of lace;

one day

they tear the surface,


the next they break open

over the dark water.

And there you are

on the shore,


fitful and thoughtful, trying

to attach them to an idea—

some news of your own life,

But the lilies


are slippery and wild—they are

devoid of meaning, they are

simply doing,

from the deepest


spurs of their being,

what they are impelled to do

every summer.

And so, dear sorrow, are you.

—Mary Oliver


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