Poem: What Is There Beyond Knowing

What Is There Beyond Knowing
–Mary Oliver
From New and Select­ed Poems: Vol­ume Two

What is there beyond know­ing that keeps
call­ing to me? I can’t

turn in any direction
but it’s there. I don’t mean

the leaves’ grip and shine or even the thrush’s
silk song, but the far-off

fires, for example,
of the stars, heav­en’s slow­ly turning

the­ater of light, or the wind
play­ful with its breath;

or time that’s always rush­ing forward,
or stand­ing still

in the same—what shall I say—
moment.

What I know
I could put into a pack

as if it were bread and cheese, and car­ry it
on one shoulder,

impor­tant and hon­or­able, but so small!
While every­thing else con­tin­ues, unexplained

and unex­plain­able. How won­der­ful it is
to fol­low a thought quietly

to its log­i­cal end.
I have done this a few times.

But most­ly I just stand in the dark field,
in the mid­dle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far does­n’t have any oth­er name
but breath and light, wind and rain.

If there’s a tem­ple, I haven’t found it yet.
I sim­ply go on drift­ing, in the heav­en of the grass and the weeds.

Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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