Mary Oliver





Holding On to Benjamin

No use to tell him 
that he

And the raccoon are brothers.
You have your soft ideas about nature

he has others,
and they are full of his

white teeth
And lip that curls, sometimes,

horribly.
You love 

this earnest dog,
But also you admire the raccoon

and Lord help you in your place
of hope and improbables.

To the black-masked gray one:
Run! you say,

and just as urgently, to the dog:
Stay!

and he won’t or he will,
depending 

on more things than I could name.
He’s sure he’s right

and you, so tangled in your mind,
are wrong,

though patient and pacific.
And you are downcast.

And it’s his eyes, not yours,
That are clear and bright.