The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts
by Mary Oliver
For a long time
I was not even
in this world, yet
in gracious repose,
in its huge willingness to give
something, from its small self,
to the entirety of the world.
I think of them, thousands upon thousands,
in many lands,
out of the patience,
to leaf and bud and look up
into the blue sky
or, with thanks,
that would feed
their thirsty roots
latched into the earth –
sandy or hard, Vermont or Arabia,
what did it matter
the answer was simply to rise
in joyfulness, all their days.
Have I found any better teaching?
Not ever, not yet.
Last week I saw my first Botticelli
and almost fainted,
and if I could I would paint like that
but am shelved somewhere below, with a few songs
about roses: teachers, also, of the ways
toward thanks, and praise.