Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches
by Mary Oliver
Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives—
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early summer, feel like?
Do you think this world is only an entertainment for you?
Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over
the dark acorn of your heart!
No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!
Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?
Well, there is time left—-
fields everywhere invite you into them.
Discover more about Mary Oliver’s poems at Poetry Foundation.