A Poet Reflects

The Orchard
I have dreamed of accomplishment. I have fed
ambition. I have traded nights of sleep
for a length of work. Lo, and I have discovered how soft bloom
turns to green fruit, which turns to sweet fruit. Lo, and I have discovered
all winds blow cold at last, and the leaves,
so pretty, so many, vanish in the great, black
packet of time, in the great, black packet of ambition,
and the ripeness of the apple is its downfall.
—Mary Oliver, from Red Bird (Beacon Press, 2008)

The Orchard

I have dreamed
of accomplishment.
I have fed

ambition.
I have traded
nights of sleep

for a length of work.
Lo, and I have discovered
how soft bloom

turns to green fruit,
which turns to sweet fruit.
Lo, and I have discovered

all winds blow cold
at last,
and the leaves,

so pretty, so many,
vanish
in the great, black

packet of time,
in the great, black
packet of ambition,

and the ripeness
of the apple
is its downfall.

—Mary Oliver, from Red Bird (Beacon Press, 2008)

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    I have dreamed of accomplishment. I have fed ambition. I have traded nights of sleep for a length of work. Lo, and I...
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