Saturday 25th

AT THE POND

One summer
I went every morning
to the edge of a pond where
a huddle of just-hatched geese

would paddle to me
and clamber
up the marshy slope
and over my body,

peeping and staring—
such sweetness every day
which the grown ones watched,
for whatever reason,

serenely.
Not there, however, but here
is where the story begins.
Nature has many mysteries,

some of them severe.
Five of the young geese grew
heavy of chest and
bold of wing

while the sixth waited and waited
in its gauze-feathers, its body
that would not grow.
And then it was fall.

And this is what I think
everything is all about:
the way
I was glad

for those five and two
that flew away,
and the way I hold in my heart the wingless one
that had to stay.

MARY OLIVER (first published in Orion Magazine)