Salt shining behind its glass cylinder.
Milk in a blue bowl. The yellow linoleum.
The cat stretching her black body from the pillow.
The way she makes her curvaceous response to the small, kind gesture.
Then laps the bowl clean.
Then wants to go out into the world
where she leaps lightly and for no apparent reason across the lawn,
then sits, perfectly still, in the grass.
I watch her a little while, thinking:
what more could I do with wild words?
I stand in the cold kitchen, bowing down to her.
I stand in the cold kitchen, everything wonderful around me.

—Mary Oliver

Rights & Access

From New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems. Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver. 

  • Mary Oliver

    Mary Oliver (1935-2019) was a Pulitzer Prize winning poet. She published several poetry collections, including Dog Songs: Poems (Penguin Books, 2015).