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.