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The On Being Project

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That Little Beast: A Poem

That Little Beast: A Poem

That pretty little beast, a poem, 
    has a mind of its own. 
Sometimes I want it to crave apples
    but it wants red meat. 
Sometimes I want to walk peacefully 
    on the shore
and it wants to take off all its clothes
    and dive in. 

Sometimes I want to use small words
    and make them important
and it starts shouting the dictionary, 
    the opportunities. 

Sometimes I want to sum up and give thanks, 
    putting things in order
and it starts dancing around the room 
    on its four furry legs, laughing 
    and calling me outrageous. 

But sometimes, when I'm thinking about you, 
    and no doubt smiling, 
it sits down quietly, one paw under its chin, 
    and just listens. 


This poem is excerpted with permission from Mary Oliver's latest collection of poetry, Felicity, published by Penguin Press in October, 2015.

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