piyp day

piyp day
Poem In Your Pocket Day

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Whelks

Here are the perfect
fans of the scallops,
quahogs, and weedy mussels
still holding their orange fruit---
and here are the whelks---
whirlwinds,
each the size of a fist,
but always cracked and broken---
clearly they have been traveling
under the sky-blue waves
for a long time.
All my life
I have been restless---
I have felt there is something
more wonderful than gloss---
than wholeness---
than staying at home.
I have not been sure what it is.
But every morning on the wide shore
I pass what is perfect and shining
to look for the whelks, whose edges
have rubbed so long against the world
they have snapped and crumbled---
they have almost vanished,
with the last relinquishing
of their unrepeatable energy,
back into everything else.
When I find one
I hold it in my hand,
I look out over that shaking fire,
I shut my eyes. Not often,
but now and again there's a moment
when the heart cries aloud:
yes, I am willing to be
that wild darkness,
that long, blue body of light.

Mary Oliver

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