A Poem for Saturday Evening

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Night and the River
By Mary Oliver


I have seen the great feet


into the river


and I have seen moonlight


along the long muzzle


and I have seen the body

of something

scaled and wonderful


slumped in the sudden fire of its mouth,

and I could not tell

which fit me


more comfortably, the power,

or the powerlessness;

neither would have me


entirely; I was divided,


by sympathy,


pity, admiration.

After a while

it was done,


the fish had vanished, the bear

lumped away

to the green shore


and into the trees. And then there was only

this story.

It followed me home


and entered my house —

a difficult guest

with a single tune


which it hums all day and through the night—

slowly or briskly,

it doesn’t matter,


it sounds like a river leaping and falling;

it sounds like a body

falling apart.

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