Mary Oliver






Goldfinches In the fields we let them have — in the fields we don’t want yet — where thistles rise out of the marshlands of spring, and spring open — each bud a settlement of riches — a coin of reddish fire — the finches wait for midsummer, for the long days, for the brass heat, for the seeds to begin to form in the hardening thistles, dazzling as the teeth of mice, but black, filling the face of every flower. Then they drop from the sky. A buttery gold, they swing on the thistles, they gather the silvery down, they carry it in their finchy beaks to the edges of the fields, to the trees, as though their minds were on fire with the flower of one perfect idea — and there they build their nests and lay their pale-blue eggs, every year, and every year the hatchlings wake in the swaying branches, in the silver baskets, and love the world. Is it necessary to say any more? Have you heard them singing in the wind, above the final fields? Have you ever been so happy in your life? spoken = Susannah Wood