Freedom is not the right to do as you please, but the liberty to do as you should.
by Mary Oliver
Three miles through the woods
Clapp's Pond sprawls stone gray
among oaks and pines,
the late winter fields
where a pheasant blazes up
lifting his yellow legs
under bronze feathers, opening
and one doe, dimpling the ground as she touches
its dampness sharply, flares
out of the brush and gallops away.
By evening: rain.
It pours down from the black clouds,
lashes over the roof. The last
acorns spray over the porch; I toss
one, then two more
logs on the fire.
How sometimes everything
closes up, a painted fan, landscapes and moments
flowing together until the sense of distance - - -
say, between Clapp's Pond and me - - -
vanishes, edges slide together
like the feathers of a wing, everything
Later, lying half-asleep under
the blankets, I watch
while the doe, glittering with rain, steps
under the wet slabs of the pines, stretches
her long neck down to drink
from the pond
three miles away.