“Walking to Oak-Head Pond, and Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the Next Days and Weeks” by Mary Oliver
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
Walking to Oak-Head Pond, and Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the Next Days and Weeks
What is so utterly invisible as tomorrow? Not love, not the wind, not the inside of stone. Not anything. And yet, how often I'm fooled— I'm wading along in the sunlight— and I'm sure I can see the fields and the ponds shining days ahead— I can see the light spilling like a shower of meteors into next week's trees, and I plan to be there soon— and, so far, I am just that lucky, my legs splashing over the edge of darkness, my heart on fire. I don't know where such certainty comes from— the brave flesh or the theater of the mind— but if I had to guess I would say that only what the soul is supposed to be could send us forth with such cheer as even the leaf must wear as it unfurls its fragrant body, and shines against the hard possibility of stoppage— which, day after day, before such brisk, corpuscular belief, shudders, and gives way.
from What Do We Know, Volume V, Number 3, Summer 2001
Perseus Books Group
Copyright 2001 by Mary Oliver.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Perseus Books Group from What Do We Know. Copyright Summer 2001 by Mary Oliver. For further permissions information, contact Perseus Books Group, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, New York 10022-5299, 212-207-7600.
About the Poet
Mary Oliver (1935- ) is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet. She has published several poetry collections, including Dog Songs: Poems (Penguin Books, 2015).
Learn more about Mary Oliver at The Poetry Foundation.