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 I’m 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.