Saturday, June 4, 2011

the dragonfly lives its life without a single error

It is our nature not only to see
that the world is beautiful

but to stand in the dark, under the stars,
or at noon, in the rainfall of light,

wringing our hands,

half-mad, saying over and over:

what does it mean, that the world is beautiful—
what does it mean?

The child asks this,
and the determined, laboring adult asks this—

both the carpenter and the scholar ask this,
and the fisherman and the teacher;

both the rich and the poor ask this
(maybe the poor more than the rich)

and the old and the very old, not yet having figured it out,
ask this

standing beside the golden-coated field rock,
or the tumbling water,
or under the stars—

what does it mean?
what does it mean?

--Mary Oliver
from "Gravel"


  1. i was excited for these to be your words. they are no less because they are Mary Oliver's. but will she hear my response?


  2. to enjoy even without understanding ...

  3. this photo is so lovely, the bright intense colour condense the breath of summer - and the dragonfly seems so frail, transparent and tiny, yet there is such geometric precision in the composition of the picture that one must immediately think of the high laws of harmony governing the worlds, both ours and theirs... and you chose the perfect title and the perfect poem for it too! (how else :-)

  4. Even the smallest of things can have such wonderful colors. Love the poem too

  5. erin: I'd like them to be my words, too :-)

  6. Susan: Deep down I suspect that we most enjoy those things we do not understand....

  7. Roxana: ... and to think that the dragonfly makes this geometric precision, this impossibly delicate impossible strength, without thought or intent, as least without any thought or intent that I can understand ... I think I hardly know the world, at all ....

  8. musicwithinyou: Yes, this attention to the smallest of things, that is the real world....