Mary Oliver


Here is a story 
to break your heart. 
Are you willing? 
This winter 
the loons came to our harbor 
and died, one by one, 
of nothing we could see. 
A friend told me 
of one on the shore 
that lifted its head and opened 
the elegant beak and cried out 
in the long, sweet savoring of its life  
which, if you have heard it, 
you know is a sacred thing, 
and for which, if you have not heard it,  
you had better hurry to where 
they still sing. 
And, believe me, tell no one 
just where that is. 
The next morning 
this loon, speckled 
and iridescent and with a plan 
to fly home 
to some hidden lake, 
was dead on the shore. 
I tell you this 
to break your heart, 
by which I mean only 
that it break open and never close again  
to the rest of the world.

spoken = Susannah Wood