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As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at M√ľnchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.

20121015

The First Time Percy Came Back


by Mary Oliver



The first time Percy came back

he was not sailing on a cloud.
He was loping along the sand as though
he had come a great way.
"Percy," I cried out, and reached to him—
those white curls—
but he was unreachable. As music
is present yet you can't touch it.
"Yes, it's all different," he said.
"You're going to be very surprised."
But I wasn't thinking of that. I only
wanted to hold him. "Listen," he said,
"I miss that too.
And now you'll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won't be false, and they won't be true,
but they'll be real."
And then, as he used to, he said, "Let's go!"
And we walked down the beach together.


Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful. Thank you. I just heard on Mary Oliver's interview with Krista Tippett that this poem came to her fully formed. This reminds me, for some reason, of Closer to The Light, which you can find on Google Books. Page 128 has "I'm Alive." Gets to that same beautiful mystery, but from another angle.

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