Sunday, March 7, 2010

Today's poem - Percy and Books (Eight) by Mary Oliver

Percy and Books (Eight)

Percy does not like it when I read a book.
He puts his face over the top of it and moans.
He rolls his eyes, sometimes he sneezes.
The sun is up, he says, and the wind is down.
The tide is out and the neighbor's dogs are playing.
But Percy, I say. Ideas! The elegance of language!
The insights, the funniness, the beautiful stories
that rise and fall and turn into strength, or courage.

Books? says Percy. I ate one once, and it was enough.
Let's go.

Mary Oliver, from Red Bird, 2008.


  1. That is a lovely poem
    Thank you Nan!

  2. I love this poem. Precious.

  3. Aww. I love this. I just discovered Mary Oliver myself, and she seems to be popping up everywhere now that I have. I'm going to need to get an entire book now. Thanks for this, Nan!

  4. Val, I couldn't resist putting it on!

    Kay, I was so tickled to find the picture of her with a book and with Percy to put with the poem!

    Kiirstin, I read recently that she is the best selling poet in the US. As she should be! I doubt you can stop at one book, Kiirstin - I think I have 5; plus a book of essays, and a photographic book done with the late Molly Malone Cook.

  5. I love the portrait of your dog Nan. I also love these poems about Percy. Our dogs do keep us grounded.

  6. Wonderful poem and the photo fits it well. Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets.
    My cat always bothers me when I am reading, it drives me mad sometimes.

  7. Nan, what a great poem! I love your dog in the header-he looks like my granddog, Cash!

  8. Lisa, Ben says thank you! I thought he looked quite handsome against the snow. Sadie had a blog header all to herself so now it is Ben's turn. :<) I was delighted to read all the Percy poems.

    Pamela, I laughed when I read this. Wonderful!

    Cait, I was so happy to find that picture! And yes, cats can be most persistent too. One of the things I enjoy about Hazel Holt's Mrs. Malory books are the cats and dogs - she has captured them beautifully.

    Sherri, isn't it just wonderful! I've seen quite a few dogs who look like Ben - not sure what's in him; probably some Lab, maybe German Shepherd, who really knows? :<) I've read the term GBD -generic black dog. :<)

  9. I love how the words flow, as if they spilled on the page, without effort. But I am sure they were carefully calculated and crafted, heard in the mind and envisioned on the page. And thank you so much, Nan, for sharing this, and for your kind comment on my own blog. Ann from England.

  10. I love that! And I actually own that book - why haven't I read it yet? Thank you for sharing.

  11. Ann, Nymeth, and Dee, I'm so pleased with the responses every time I put a poem of Mary Oliver's on the blog. I hope the poems draw readers to buy her books. Thank you for your words.

  12. Marvelous! I think Percy and Annie would get along famously! ;)

  13. Les, isn't it just wonderful! She has a whole series of Percy poems. I'll post more over time. I love her work.


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