“What Gorgeous Thing” by Mary Oliver

I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
in the world that is without
questions that can’t and probably
never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.


from Blue Horses
Copyright 2014 by Penguin Press


Listen to Garrison Keillor read Oliver’s poem (via The Writer’s Almanac): poem starts at apx. 3:56



This week of Words is being hosted by poet Brian Dean Powers. We hope you enjoy his selections. Brian shares his poetry at The Body’s Heated Speech. I hope you will stop by to say hello. Thank you, Brian, for your support and for the beautiful Words. ~ Christy

2 thoughts on ““What Gorgeous Thing” by Mary Oliver

  1. Brian Dean Powers

    What attracted me to this poem was Oliver’s acknowledgement that our world is full of “questions that can’t and probably never will be answered.” That sentiment strays so far from the desire to cling to absolutes.


  2. Wallace Kaufman

    “I like it whatever it is”: a confession of sorts. The poem’s not about a bird at all, of course, but a kind of short prose meditation on how the writer feels about her lack of understanding of nature when a blue bird’s call. She assumes the bluebird is saying a “gorgeous thing.” That’s anthropocentric romanticism, of course. The blue bird is almost certainly saying one of two things–“keep the hell out of my territory” or “I’m horny as hell and want to get laid.”


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