Author(s): Mary Oliver
For the many admirers of Mary Oliver's dazzling poetry and luminous vision, as well as for those who may only now be discovering her work, What Do We Know will be a revelation and, in the words of Stanley Kunitz, "a blessing." These forty poems--of observing, of searching, of pausing, of astonishment, of giving thanks--embrace in every sense the natural world, its unrepeatable moments and its ceaseless cycles. Mary Oliver evokes unforgettable images--from one hundred white-sided dolphins on a summer day to bees that have memorized every stalk and leaf in a field--even as she reminds us, after Emerson, that "the invisible and imponderable is the sole fact."What was most wonderful?The sea, and its wide shoulders;the sea and its triangles;the sea lying back on its long athlete's spine.What did you think was happening?The green breast of the hummingbird;the eye of the pond;the wet face of the lily;the bright, puckered knee of the broken oak;the red tulip of the fox's mouth;the up-swing, the down-pour, the frayed sleeve of the first snow--so the gods shake us from our sleep.--from "Gratitude"