The Ponds by Mary Oliver

 

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them —

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

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The Guest is Inside You

The guest is inside you, and also inside me;

you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.

We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.

Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.

 

The blue sky opens out farther and farther,

the daily sense of failure goes away,

the damage I have done to myself fades,

a million suns come forward with light,

when I sit firmly in that world.

 

I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken,

inside “love” there is more joy than we know of,

rain pours down, although the sky is clear of clouds,

there are whole rivers of light.

The universe is shot through in all parts by a single sort of love.

How hard it is to feel that joy in all our four bodies!

 

Those who hope to be reasonable about it fail.

The arrogance of reason has separated us from that love.

With the word “reason” you already feel miles away.

Kabir