Breakage

surfer

I’ve been in denial all week about the fact that I’m getting a cold, but yesterday my body decided to give me a not-so-gentle reminder. It must have sensed the weekend was coming. So today will be all about hot drinks in bed, hiding under the covers, and not doing anything more strenuous than reading a few poems. Here’s one for you now on this Saturday morning (I hope you’re all feeling better than me!):

Breakage
By Mary Oliver

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
       full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

Source: Poetry (August, 2003).