Mary Oliver

Moccasin Flowers

All my life,
   so far,
        I have loved
            more than one thing,

including the mossy hooves
    of dreams, including'
        the spongy litter
            under the tall trees.

In spring
     the moccasin flowers
         reach for the crackling
              lick of the sun

and burn down. Sometimes,
     in the shadows,
         I see the hazy eyes,
              the lamb-lips

of oblivion,
    its deep drowse,
        and I can imagine a new nothing
            in the universe,

the matted leaves splitting
    open, revealing
         the black planks 
             of the stairs.

But all my life--sofar--
    I have loved best
        how the flowers rise
             and open, how

the pink lungs of their bodies
     enter the fire of the world
         and stand there shining
             and willing--the one

thing they can do before
    they shuffle forward
        into the floor of darkness, they
            become the trees. 

spoken = Susannah Wood