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THE SPRAY OF SWALLOWS GATHERING IN AUTUMN

16fallpoem0091

That tall distance 

where the clouds begin,

the forge that pounds out the lightning
and the black porch
where the stars are dressed in light
and arrangement is made for the moon’s path—
it’s these I think of now,

after a lifetime of goldfinches,
meandering streams,
lambs playing,
the passionate hands of the sun,
the coolness under the trees
talking leaf to leaf,
the foxes and the otters sliding on the snow,
the dolphins for whom no doubt
the seas were created,
the spray of swallows gathering in autumn –
after all of that
the tall distance is what I think of now.

~ Mary Oliver

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