Such Singing In the Magnolia




At our house here in Chicago we celebrate the arrival of Spring with the blooming of our Magnolia tree. This year she flowered early and since we know our time with the blossoms is short we spend every opportunity admiring her pink beauty. One morning I got up at 5:45am and watched how the light changed as the sun rose. One by one the kids joined me and were fully entertained with the view. This morning Canyon got up and went straight to the window and started his day with the tree all on his own.

And when we are outside on beautiful spring days and I hear the signing of birds I think of this poem. And I know the bird in these photos is not a thrush but these are the little ones who chirp madly at me each day demanding that I fill the feeder!


Such Singing in the Wild Branches
By Mary Oliver

It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them

were singing.
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.




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