Sunday, February 8, 2009

Entering the Kingdom (for Delwyn)

Entering the Kingdom

The crows see me.
They stretch their glossy necks
In the tallest branches
Of green trees. I am
Possibly dangerous, I am
Entering the kingdom.

The dream of my life
Is to lie down by a slow river
And stare at the light in the trees—
To learn something by being nothing
A little while but the rich
Lens of attention.

But the crows puff their feathers and cry
Between me and the sun,
And I should go now.
They know me for what I am.
No dreamer,
No eater of leaves.

—Mary Oliver

Note: Ah, how wonderful to discover as we grow older and wiser that we can learn to abide for longer moments in the rich lens of attention.


Delwyn said...

Thank you Dan. I love it. What do you think the last 2 lines mean?

Mr. Kinder said...

To me, the last two lines seem to suggest that as a human she feels that she stands outside the natural world and that plants and animals stand inside it.

She says, (in the other poem),

"When it's over...
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."

I can't think of an animal that when dying is sighing and frightened or full or argument. Animals don't "visit" the world. They are of it.

We, humans, too, are of it. (We are, actually, animals, but we have trouble admitting that fact.) Most of us feel--vehemently--that this isn't so. Our "reality" separates us from actual reality, so that we think animals live in a dream world when in fact we do.

Thus, we are no dreamers, no eaters of leaves.

Okay, that's the meaning I take from it, but I'd be interested to hear from others who find different meaning in it.