Monday, December 7, 2009

Aunt Leaf

Aunt Leaf

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 gray 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.


Ruth said...

How does Mary Oliver do that?

Delphyne said...

She's great, isn't she? She can craft her words to make a crystal clear picture - she is definitely an artiste extraodinaire.

Jasmine said...

You find the most magical poetry. Thank you x

Lyon said...

Breath taking. Mary Oliver is amazing. And so are you for sharing. ;-)

Delphyne said...

Thanks, Jasmine and's fun to go searching for words that go with pictures....

Tammie Lee said...

This is so wonderful! I had never seen this poem. Thank you!

Delphyne said...

Hi, Tammie Lee - yes, Mary Oliver can speak to my imagination in a very moving way as if reading the mind of the 7 year old witch! I'm glad you liked this one, too.

rebecca said...

mary oliver..
i do declare. she could can make a friend out of an old withered leaf and gold out of straw.
she is a painter of words that stirs the soul like no other.
image an evening with her, fireside...
after along walk by the ponds.

Delphyne said...

Rebecca, that would be a lovely evening of story telling!