A Magazine of Theological and Ethical Inquiry from Yale Divinity School

The Teachers

Mary Oliver

Owl in the black morning, mockingbird in the burning

slants of the sunny afternoon declare so simply

to the world

everything I have tried but still haven’t been able

to put into words,

so I do not go

far from that school with its star-bright

or blue ceiling,

and I listen to those old teachers, and others too —

the wind in the trees

or the water waves —

for they are what lead me from the dryness of self

where I labor

with the mind-steps of language.

Lonely, as we all are in the singular,

I listen

to the shouted exuberances

of the mockingbird and the owl, the waves, and the wind,

and then, like peace after perfect speech, such stillness.

Issue Title: 
God's Green Earth
Issue Year: