Lightning

by Mary Oliver

The oaks shone
gaunt gold
on the lip
of the storm before
the wind rose,
the shapeless mouth
opened and began
its five-hour howl;
the lights
went out fast, branches
sidled over
the pitch of the roof, bounced
into the year
that grew black
within minutes, except
for the lightening - the landscape
bulging forth like a quick
lesson in creating, then
thudding away. Inside,
as always,
it was hard to tell
fear from excitement:
how sensual
the lightning’s
poured stroke! and still,
what a fire and a risk!
As always the body
wants to hide,
wants to flow toward it - strives
to balance while
fear shouts,
excitement shouts, back
and forth - each
bolt a burning river
tearing like escape through the dark
field of the other.

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