Poetry Friday: Luke by Mary Oliver

Poetry Friday is hosted by Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche

This Poetry Friday, I want to honor my erstwhile summer companion, Sophie.  Family and friends drop in to the farm every now and then, but Sophie is here with me all the time – from the last day in June when we arrive (school’s out!), to the last week of August when we leave (back to school!).


Every moment of every day is an adventure for Sophie.

A quick walk to take out the trash? Well, that’s just enough time to explore that interesting gap in a stone wall.  An hour weeding garden beds on a misty morning ? Well, that’s an opportunity to inspect flowers, chase butterflies, give pursuit to the family of wild turkeys taking their early morning stroll.  A hot afternoon painting old farmhouse doors? Well, that’s the perfect chance to offer quick wags and wet nosed nudges of encouragement, in between long and dream filled naps.

Where ever I go and whatever I do, Sophie is by my side, taking joy in every moment, noticing the wonder of small things, grateful to be alive, to love, and to be loved.  This Mary Oliver poem is for and about you, dear Sophie.

LUKE  by Mary Oliver

I had a dog
who loved flowers.
Briskly she went
through the fields,

yet paused
for the honeysuckle
or the rose,
her dark head

and her wet nose
the face
of every one

with its petals
of silk,
with its fragrance

into the air
where the bees,
their bodies
heavy with pollen,

and easily
she adored
every blossom,

not in the serious,
careful way
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom—

the way we praise or don’t praise—
the way we love
or don’t love—
but the way

we long to be—
that happy
in the heaven of earth—
that wild, that loving.

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16 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Luke by Mary Oliver

  1. My Max, our Golden, was like that. A lovely reminder of a friend now gone. We called him the best dog in the universe. Imagine Sophie holds that title in your heart.

  2. The companionship of a loving dog is a true blessing. Mary Oliver always finds exactly the right words to describe emotions or relationships we take for granted that are, in fact, quite extraordinary. Thank you for sharing, Tara! (BTW, love Sophie’s collar!)

  3. “…that happy in the heaven of earth…” Love the pics of Sophie (those soulful eyes!) and the call and response structure of your post. Enjoy every moment of the upcoming month with Sophie at the farm.

  4. I count Sophie now in my family of friends. She is just the perfect combination of loyal and curious, of adventure and peace. Mary Oliver knows.

  5. Tara, the way you wrote about Sophie makes me imagine what a loving friend she is. These Mary Oliver’s words speak to me:
    we long to be—
    that happy
    in the heaven of earth—
    Thank you for sharing them.

  6. Dogs are pretty amazing animals! I usually prefer cats, but I think that’s just my own catlike nature to object to the slobber. I do really like dogs, I just don’t like to admit it.

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