Welcome to the Neighborhood

by Kristina Woodhill

I hoped you might drift by,
Mary Oliver,
your freed-up schedule
allowing westerly wanderings

Pulling my head out of our raspberry patch,
each pruning cut much needed this early fall,
I heard a hawk's scree, scree, scree cry
from above our pasture

I knew it was you, Mary,
by your wistful yearning call,
not quite used to wings, flying,
the surprisingly almost weightless, soulful experience

Of course I answered
in my shrillest hawk talk whistle,
hoping I might woo the new you
into a pause, a circling back,

a coveted moment shared with a word lover, myself,
from a word giver, yourself

You circled my sound
and again, around
as I bird spoke
to your heaven-sent
piercing queries

I slowly raised one waving arm
pretending as a clipped-winged
one-sided and unable to join
your journey just now

What a thrill
to see your gliding pause,
your momentary sharp attention
to my insignificant shape below,

to possibly ponder our commonality,
how words in any language
can connect, console, inspire

We, too, have mockingbirds in the west,
starlings that can mimic roosters
or the sputtering put-put-put of a tractor,
and bees that buzz their busy, busy
hum, hum, hum

See you around the neighborhood,
Mary Oliver


Author's Note: Tribute

Posted on 09/27/2019
Copyright © 2022 Kristina Woodhill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Linda Fuller on 09/27/19 at 10:08 PM

I love everything about this poem, particularly your first stanza which pulled me right in. You, too, are a word giver.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 09/27/19 at 10:20 PM

Nice positive poem, elevated to new heights with the personification of the hawk Mary Oliver.

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 10/02/19 at 08:43 PM

A lovely poem, Christina and powerful tribute from one poet to another. I love how the work personifies the nature of which you and she are marvelously dedicated and composed.

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