Reading Mary Oliver

by The Poet Darkling

red fish

I gaze upon the poet;
her words –
ponderless, profound;
deep and dark and blue –
and think,
what such have I to offer
from my humble beginnings
or my sordid past
to justify the title of poet?

To answer the unanswerable?

To defend my consumption
of fish, of fowl, of air, of love?

What gives me the right
to birth words;
to rape words;
to bend words to my will,

And, why do you read them?

Have I,
simply by proclamation
or circumstance,
the inherent right
to deface plume and parchment
with philosophies
pilfered from shadows
or snatched from the sky?

Might those pinched words
have been travelling
to another
much more qualified than I?

Much more deserving?

Might they have been
intended by fate
for Mary Oliver? 

Is it possible
that Mary might have
just as wantonly
purloined words from me?

Might Mary be
the impostor; the thief,
and I, perchance, the poet,
plucked bald of words
meant for my pen?

Am I Mary’s fish;
Mary, my fish?

Have we flailed and sucked and died
“in the slow pouring off of rainbows”
in one another’s pail?

Have we consumed one another?
Is now Mary in me?
I in her?
Are we the fish?
Might have
the fish been the real poet all along?

Or has the fish
simply died
in vain
in the pails of two poets
never meant to meet?

Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing, SNHU Student