Seven White Butterflies

Mary Oliver Click to

moliverMary Oliver is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize (for American Primitive)  and the National Book Award. She has taught at Sweet Briar, Pennington and other universities and is widely anthologized twice in Best American Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, three times in Best American Essays. A Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of four honorary doctorates, she lives in Provincetown, MA. Oliver has published three volumes of prose and thirty of poetry, the most recent Dog Songs in 2013.  “Seven White Butterflies” was first published in Shenandoah 45/3.

Seven white butterflies
delicate in a hurry look
how they bang the pages
   of their wings as they fly

to the fields of mustard yellow
and orange and plain
gold all eternity
   is in the moment this is what

Blake said Whitman said such
wisdom in the agitated
motions of the mind seven
    dancers floating

even as worms toward
paradise see how they banter
and riot and rise
    to the trees flutter

lob their white bodies into
the invisible wind weightless
lacy willing
    to deliver themselves unto

the universe now each settles 
down on a yellow thumb on a 
brassy stem now
    all seven are rapidly sipping

from the golden tower who
would have thought it could be so easy?