National Poetry Month Day 4: Mary Oliver

Many of my favorite poems are those that were shared with me by friends. This poem was sent to me recently by Isaiah Vianese, who is also blogging National Poetry Month at his blog From Yes. “Breakage” by Mary Oliver is published over at the Poetry Foundation.

Breakage

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.
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