by Mary Oliver

Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing
kept flickering in with the tide
and looking around.
Black as a fisherman’s boot,
with a white belly.

If you asked for a picture I would have to draw a smile
under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin,
which was rough
as a thousand sharpened nails.

And you know
what a smile means,
don’t you?


I wanted
the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
  where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
  I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was

for a little while.


It was evening, and no longer summer.
Three small fish, I don’t know what they were,
huddled in the highest ripples
as it came swimming in again, effortless, the whole body
one gesture, one black sleeve
that could fit easily around
the bodies of three small fish.


Also I wanted
to be able to love. And we all know
how that one goes,
don’t we?



the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.


You don’t want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it’s the same old story – – –
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
or mean,
for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
this world.


And look! look! look! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.


And probably,
if they don’t waste time
looking for an easier world,

they can do it.

Oliver’s Birthday Fic Roundup

I started gathering these as I found them because cityofolicity asked me to, but then I thought the list might come in handy for everyone. So if you wanted to celebrate our hero’s birthday with some reading, here are my recommendations (so far):

dust2dust34 put out two awesome smutty parts: 

anthfan and hopedreamlovepray gave us another beautiful postcard:

sentence-fragments wrote this gem: 

skcolicity has adorable birthday dancing:
And more birthday fluff

Some delicious birthday smut from dettiot:
And a bonus smutty drabble!

alanna-the-lionheart covered a lot of great miles in her road trip birthday fic:

And callistawolf delivered some excellent water conservation:


taivasmeri shared her cute fic with me. It includes a check in with home, which I love: 

Did you write an Oliver birthday fic and I missed it? Tag me on it or send me the link, because I’d love to read it and add you to the list!