From the Archives

Messages

Mary Oliver

Rain is easy. So is death—
Skin and bone
Break open like an old manuscript

And the news begins to travel.
Bull-beasts,
Not tribal but interloping,

Leap into the forest tough
And salty as dragons. And all night
Sex pulls

Like an iron magnet through the fields,
This way and that, wherever 
The does are waiting to wrestle us

Into their warm traps. And the marshes
Spice with their black fragrance
The wheaten miles. And somewhere one tree

Hovers, hollow,
Tall as a lighthouse: the secret
Castle of honey.

Mary Oliver was an American poet and essayist and the author of more than thirty books. Oliver won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the 1992 National Book Award for Poetry.
Originally published:
April 1, 1978

Featured

Essays

Communalism in the Veld

Rethinking property in South Africa
Glen Retief

Fiction

The Front House

Cord Jefferson

Books

The Sublime Modes of Sheila Heti

The novelist as philosopher
Noreen Khawaja

You Might Also Like

From the Archives

Dogs

Elisabeth Frost

From the Archives

Looking at a Yi Dynasty Rice Bowl

Suji Kwock Kim

From the Archives

My Cousin in April

Louise Glück

Newsletter

Sign up for The Yale Review newsletter and keep up with news, events, and more.