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"Spring Azures" by Mary Oliver

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

In spring the blue azures bow down at the edges of shallow puddles to drink the black rain water. Then they rise and float away into the fields. Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, and all the tricks my body knows― the opposable thumbs, the kneecaps, and the mind clicking and clicking— don’t seem enough to carry me through this world and I think: how I would like to have wings— blue ones— ribbons of flame. How I would like to open them, and rise from the black rain water.

And then I think of Blake, in the dirt and sweat of London—a boy

staring through the window, when God came

fluttering up.

Of course, he screamed,

seeing the bobbin of God’s blue body

leaning on the sill,

and the thousand-faceted eyes.

Well, who knows.

Who knows what hung, fluttering, at the window

between him and the darkness.

Anyway, Blake the hosier’s son stood up

and turned away from the sooty sill and the dark city—

turned away forever

from the factories, the personal strivings,

to a life of the imagination.

Special thanks to Mary Liedel, who offered me her painting of a blue azure butterfly, specially to illustrate this poem.

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