When the hummingbird sinks its face into the trumpet vine
and the funnels of the blossoms, and the tongue leaps out and throbs,
I am scorched to realize once again how many small,
available things are in the world that aren’t pieces of gold or power–
that nobody owns or could buy even for a hillside of money–
that just float about the world, or drift over the fields,
or into the gardens, and into the tents of the vines and how here I am spending my time,
as the saying goes, watching until the watching turns into feeling
so that I feel I am myself
a small bird with a terrible hunger
with a thin beak probing and dipping
and a heart that races so fast it is only a heartbeat ahead of breaking
and I am the hunger and the assuagement
and also I am the leaves and the blossoms,
and, like them,
I am full of delight and shaking.


Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross
Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings
Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?



Every day
     I see or hear
             that more or less kills me
     with delight,
          that leaves me
               like a needle in the haystack
     of light.
          It was what I was born for —
               to look, to listen, to lose myself
     inside this soft world —
          to instruct myself
               over and over in joy,
     and acclamation.
          Nor am I talking
               about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
     the very extravagant —
          but of the ordinary,
               the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
     Oh, good scholar,
          I say to myself,
               how can you help

but grow wise
     with such teachings
          as these —
               the untrimmable light

of the world,
     the ocean’s shine,
          the prayers that are made
               out of grass?



Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
And spread it over the fields
And into the faces of the tulips
And the nodding morning glories,
And into the windows of, even, the
Miserable and the crotchety –

Best preacher that ever was,
Dear star, that just happens
To be where you are in the universe
To keep us from ever-darkness,
To ease us with warm touching,
To hold us in the great hands of light –
Good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
In happiness, in kindness.



Last night
in the fields
I lay down in the darkness
to think about death,
but instead I fell asleep,
as if in a vast and sloping room
filled with those white flowers
that open all summer,
sticky and untidy,
in the warm fields.
When I woke
the morning light was just slipping
in front of the stars,
and I was covered
with blossoms.
I don’t know
how it happened—
I don’t know
if my body went diving down
under the sugary vines
in some sleep-sharpened affinity
with the depths, or whether
that green energy
rose like a wave
and curled over me, claiming me
in its husky arms.
I pushed them away, but I didn’t rise.
Never in my life had I felt so plush,
or so slippery,
or so resplendently empty.
Never in my life
had I felt myself so near
that porous line
where my own body was done with
and the roots and the stems and the flowers