I listen and look
under the sun’s brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can’t hear
anything, I can’t see anything —
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green
stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,
nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker —
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.
And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing —
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,
the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet —
all of it
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.
And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt
swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn’s beautiful body
is sure to be there.
One last summer poem in these last precious days of our shortest season, one that speaks of the unseeable, unhearable evidence of faith. And so, every summer, / I fail as a witness says Mary Oliver, to all that is happening all around, all of it / happening / beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum. Though in truth, she is one of the finest witnesses of the natural world to write of it.
Despite not seeing, not hearing the persistent growth, she tells us that still, / every day, / the leafy fields / grow taller and thicker. And isn’t it so? Look around at the leafy green ocean that summer has produced, the honeycomb of the corn’s beautiful body.
She invites the immeasurable, the unknowable, the mystery hidden in the dirt, for us to contemplate. In her inimitable style, she asks How could I look at anything in this world /
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart? /What should I fear? She speaks of faith in what we cannot see or hear without naming it while showing us in her words what faith can look like.
May this little summer poem touch your heart and show you what faith you need in this moment.