“Red Bird” by Mary Oliver

I will try.

I will step from the house to see what I see

and hear and I will praise it.

I did not come into this world

to be comforted.

I came, like a red bird, to sing.

But I’m not a red bird, with his mop-head of flame

and the red triangle of his mouth

full of tongue and whistles,

but a woman whose love has vanished,

who thinks now, too much, of roots

and the dark places

where everything is simply holding on.

But this too, I believe, is a place

where God is keeping watch

until we rise, and step forth again and-

but wait. Be still. Listen!

Is it the red bird? Or something

inside myself, singing?


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