Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Such Singing in the Wild Branches

Such Singing in the Wild Branches

by Mary Oliver
from Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays
Beacon Press, Boston, 2003

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness—
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree—
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing—
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky— all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

for more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then— open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.


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  • April 9, 2011, 12:25 pm Libelula

    This reminds me of how very ready I have been for Spring (and how deeply grateful that it seems to have arrived.) Thank you so much for sharing.

  • April 10, 2011, 8:29 am Beth

    Thank YOU for stopping by! May your Spring bring you the most beautiful renewal and delight!

  • April 10, 2011, 1:29 pm judy

    I was awakened very early this morning by a lone robin singing his song, so patiently, over and over, in the hopes that some pretty young thing would answer. And then it happened… a faint, faraway, one tone answer to his intricate composition. He immediately repeated it and with so much more gusto and testosterone that I smiled in my semi-awake serenity. And as I listened to his call getting farther away and her answer getting closer… I drifted off to sleep again and dreamt of rubbing noses sensuously with a beautiful butterfly.