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"The Ponds", by Mary Oliver

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

I just watched a video with Tara Brach, a recommendation from my sister, which I loved.

Tara Brach reads part of this poem, by Mary Oliver, at the end of her talk.

The Ponds

Every year the lilies are so perfect I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding the black, mid-summer ponds. Nobody could count all of them --

the muskrats swimming among the pads and the grasses can reach out their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that rife and wild. But what in this world is perfect?

I bend closer and see how this one is clearly lopsided -- and that one wears an orange blight -- and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away -- and that one is a slumped purse full of its own unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled -- to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world. I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery. I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing -- that the light is everything -- that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

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Arboretum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

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