Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

09 August 2011

She Writes about Love after All

I was saying just the other day that all of Mary Oliver's poems were about nature, and yet last night when I got into bed and pulled out West Wind, I came across the play's titular poem, which includes the passage:

There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks—when you hear that unmistakable pounding—when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming—then row, row for your life toward it.

And a little later in the poem she says:

There are night birds, in the garden below us, singing.
Oh, listen!
For a moment I thought it was
our own bodies.