Friday, July 24, 2009

The Waterfall

Pt. Ludlow Falls, Washington

The Waterfall
by Mary Oliver

For all they said,
I could not see the waterfall
until I came and saw the water falling,
its lace legs and its womanly arms sheeting down,
while something howled like thunder,
over the rocks,
all day and all night -
unspooling
like ribbons made of snow,
or god's white hair.
At any distance
it fell without a break or seam, and slowly, a simple
preponderance -
a fall of flowers - and truly it seemed
surprised by the unexpected kindness of the air and
light-hearted to be
flying at last.
Gravity is a fact everybody
knows about.
It is always underfoot,
like a summons,
gravel-backed and mossy,
in every beetled basin -
and imagination -
that striver,
that third eye -
can do a lot but
hardly everything. The white, scrolled
wings of the tumbling water
I never could have
imagined. And maybe there will be,
after all,
some slack and perfectly balanced
blind and rough peace, finally,
in the deep and green and utterly motionless pools after all that
falling?