Mary Oliver





The Measure

I stopped the car and ran back and across the road
and picked up the box turtle, who only
hissed and withdrew herself into her pretty shell.
Well, goodness, it was early in the morning, not too much 
    traffic.
Rather an adventure than a risk, and anyway
who would give aid to such a shy citizen?
Who wouldn't complete the journey for it, taking it of course
in the direction of its desire: a pinewoods
where, as I learned, the blueberries ripen early.
Probably she had thought, in the middle of the night —
    Ah, it's time.
Sometimes I think our own lives are watched over like that.
Out of the mystery of the hours and the days
Something says-Let's give this one a little trial.
Let's say, put a turtle in the road she's traveling on, and
    in a hurry.
Let's see how her life is measuring up, that lucky girl.
So much happiness, so much good fortune. Ah, it's time.


spoken = Susannah Wood