Category Archives: Literature & Art

Moles (a poem by Mary Oliver)

I found this poem in a collection by Mary Oliver from the 1970s; a sweet tribute to underground ecology. I particularly love… well, all of it. But the way she builds to the close is excellent.

Under the leaves, under
the first loose
levels of earth
they’re there — quick
as beetles, blind
as bats, shy
as hares but seen
less than these —
traveling
among the pale girders
of appleroot,
rockshelf, nests
of insects and black
pastures of bulbs
peppery and packed full
of the sweetest food:
spring flowers.
Field after field
you can see the traceries
of their long
lonely walks, then
the rains blur
even this frail hint of them —
so excitable,
so plush, so willing to continue
generation after generation
accomplishing nothing
but their brief physical lives
as they live and die,
pushing and shoving
with their stubborn muzzles against
the whole earth,
finding it
delicious.

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