That Little Beast

      by Mary Oliver

That pretty little beast, a poem,
    has a mind of its own.
Sometimes I want it to crave apples
    but it wants red meat.
Sometimes I want to walk peacefully
    on the shore
and it wants to take off all its clothes
    and dive in.

Sometimes I want to use small words
    and make them important
and it starts shouting the dictionary,
    the opportunities.

Sometimes I want to sum up and give thanks,
    putting things in order
and it starts dancing around the room
    on its four furry legs, laughing
    and calling me outrageous.

But sometimes, when Im thinking about you,
    and no doubt smiling,
it sits down quietly, one paw under its chin,
    and just listens.


From Felicity, New York: Penguin Press, 2015.