I rose this morning early as usual, and went to my desk.
But it’s spring,
and the thrush is in the woods,
somewhere in the twirled branches, and he is singing.
And so, now, I am standing by the open door.
And now I am stepping down onto the grass.
I am touching a few leaves.
I am noticing the way the yellow butterflies
move together, in a twinkling cloud, over the field.
And I am thinking: maybe just looking and listening
is the real work.
Maybe the world, without us,
is the real poem.
—Mary Oliver, section 1 of “From The Book of Time” in The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem (Da Capo Press, 2000)