Our Lily Story

Every year the lilies are so perfect I can hardly believe
their lapped light crowding the black, mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them — the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses can reach out
their muscular arms and touch only so many,
they are that rife and wild.
But what in this world is perfect?
I bend closer and see how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse full of its own unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life is to be willing, to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even
to float a little above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.

The Ponds, a poem by Mary Oliver