Peonies – Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them, boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it awayto their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

4 comments to " Peonies – Mary Oliver "

  • Carol Reznikoff

    I have my favorite and we’ll loved books of poetry sitting on my shelves. I regret that I hardly ever take them out.
    I love that you insist that I read just one poem. These beautiful, poetic thoughts are exactly what I just experienced with my own peonies. Thank you!

    • Jennifer Schelter

      Hi Carol,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Wonderful to learn you enjoy poetry.

      Yes! I insist in the best way!

      Like good food, fresh air and sunshine,
      a poem can give us a blooming sense of life.

      Being more fully present to each moment.


      I hope to see you soon.

      Thank you for writing!


  • bobbi tighe

    So grateful you share these beautiful gems, keeping the door of delight open through prose.
    Such a magical & grounding sweet shift…
    Thank you for illuminating our Hearts!

    • Jennifer Schelter

      Hi Bobbie,
      Thank you for your kind comment and affirmation of prose.
      “…grounding sweet shift…”
      Thank you for writing.

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