The Lark Mary Oliver
And I have seen,
spin out of the long grass
and into the pink air —
which are neither wide
ploughing and flashing
for nothing but altitude —
and the song
all the while
from the red throat.
And then he descends,
and is sorry.
His little head hangs
and he pants for breath
for a few moments
among the hoops of the grass,
which are crisp and dry,
where most of his living is done —
and then something summons him again
and up he goes,
his shoulders working,
his whole body almost collapsing and floating
to the edges of the world.
We are reconciled, I think,
to too much.
Better to be a bird, like this one —
an ornament of the eternal.
As he came down once, to the nest of the grass,
“Squander the day, but save the soul,”
I heard him say.
photo Rose Cook
The Work of Happiness
by May Sarton
I thought of happiness how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day,
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work,
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.
So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours,
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone.
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room,
A shelf of books, a table, and the whitewashed wall –
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done.
The growing tree is green and musical
For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life’s span in a single place;
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness.
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.
photo Rose Cook