Mary Oliver


The daughter is mad, and so 
I wonder what she will do.  
But she holds her saucer softly  
And sips, as people do, 
From moment to moment making  
Comments of rain and sun, 
Till I feel my own heart shaking–  
Till I am the frightened one. 
O Anne, sweet Anne, brave Anne,  
What did I think to see? 
The rumors of the village 
Have painted you savagely. 
I thought you would come in anger–  
A knife beneath your skirt. 
I did not think to see a face 
So peaceful and so hurt. 
I know the trouble is there, 
Under your little frown; 
But when you slowly lift your cup  
And when you set it down, 
I feel my heart go wild, Anne, 
I feel my heart go wild. 
I know a hundred children, 
But never before a child 
Hiding so deep a trouble 
Or wanting so much to please, 
Or tending so desperately all 
The small civilities.

spoken = Susannah Wood