“To Begin With, the Sweet Grass”
by Mary Oliver
Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat
of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or
forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?
Behold, I say—behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings
of this gritty earth gift.
Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.
And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.
What do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.
Photo by Wendell
Ventura Center for Spiritual Living
A CENTER OF LOVE...
Be Love, Share Love, Serve Love.
Sunday Celebration 10:00 AM
101 S. Laurel Street
Ventura California 93001