Would it be better to sit in silence?
To think everything, to feel everything, to say nothing?
This is the way of the orange gourd.
This is the habit of the rock in the river, over which
the water pours all night and all day.
But the nature of man is not the nature of silence.
Words are the thunders of the mind.
Words are the refinement of the flesh.
Words are the responses to the thousand curvaceous moments—
we just manage it—
sweet and electric, words flow from the brain
and out the gate of the mouth.
We make books of them, out of hesitations and grammar.
We are slow, and choosy.
This is the world.
—Mary Oliver, section 3 of “Work” in The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem (Da Capo Press, 2000)