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Friday, November 16, 2007

Aunt Leaf - by Mary Oliver

Needing one, I invented her –
the great-great-aunt dark as hickory
called Shining-Leaf, or Drifting Cloud
or The-Beauty-of-the-Night.

Dear aunt, I'd call into the leaves,
and she'd rise up, like an old log in a pool,
and whisper in a language only the two of us knew
the word that meant follow,

and we'd travel
cheerful as birds
out of the dusty town and into the trees
where she would change us both into something quicker –
two foxes with black feet,
two snakes green as ribbons,
two shimmering fish –
and all day we'd travel.

At day's end she'd leave me back at my own door
with the rest of my family,
who were kind, but solid as wood
and rarely wandered. While she,
old twist of feathers and birch bark,
would walk in circles wide as rain and then
float back

scattering the rags of twilight
on fluttering moth wings;

or she'd slouch from the barn like a grey opossum;

or she'd hang in the milky moonlight
burning like a medallion,

this bone dream,
this friend I had to have,
this old woman made out of leaves.

6 comments:

Kenny Mah said...

There is old magic in them woods, scary but we are drawn, nonetheless, closer, as slender flashes of soil-flickered quicksilver deeper into the earth, the soft womb, the return...

msiagirl said...

mmm lovely, I like this poem becasue Aunt Leaf is so earthy (this bone dream) and flighty (a twist of feathers)and passionate (burning like a medallion), watery (walk in circles wide as rain) all in one: the five elements balance together to create this guide and teacher of the imagination. brilliant.

bibliobibuli said...

so good.

anyone going to publish you, girl? if you'd like to be published in kl maybe there's a way ...

msiagirl said...

Sharon dear, that is the moot question of my life!! First one has to produce an organised manuscript, then I could open my mouth and perhaps...speak. Thanks for being so encouraging, it adds another brick to my resolve.

Kenny Mah said...

Another brick to your resolve, dear? Do finish that manuscript of yours... I'm dying to design the cover! ;)

msiagirl said...

Thanks Kenny! You will be the One. ;)