The Oak Tree at the Entrance to Blackwater Pond

handmade greeting cards, collage art, tree

Every day

on my way to the pond

I pass the lightning-felled,


hundred-fingered, black oak

which, summers ago,

swam forward when the storm


laid one lean yellow wand against it, smoking it open

to its rosy heart.

It dropped down

in a veil of rain,

in a cloud of sap and fire,

and became what it has been ever since—

a black boat


in the tossing leaves of summer,


like the coffin of Osiris


upon the cloudy Nile.

But, listen, I’m tired of that brazen promise:

death and resurrection.

I’m tired of hearing how the nitrogens will return

to the earth again,

through the hinterland of patience—

how the mushrooms and the yeasts

will arrive in the wind—

how they’ll anchor the pearls of their bodies and begin

to gnaw through the darkness,

like wolves at bones—


what I loved, I mean, was that tree—

tree of the moment—tree of my own sad, mortal heart—

and I don’t want to sing anymore of the way


Osiris came home at last, on a clean

and powerful ship, over

the dangerous sea, as a tall

and beautiful stranger.

—Mary Oliver

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