A Summer Flashback: Goldfinch


A goldfinch that landed on the mirror of our car while I was waiting for my husband in the parking lot!



In the fields
we let them have-
in the fields
we don’t want yet
where thistles rise
out of the marshlands of spring, and spring open-
each bud
a settlement of riches
a coin of reddish fire-
the finches
wait for midsummer,
for the long days
for the brass heat,
for the seeds to begin to form in the hardening thistles,
dazzling as the teeth of mice,
but black
filling the face of every flower.
Then they drop from the sky.
A buttery gold,
they swing on the thistles, they gather
the silvery down, they carry it
in their finchy beaks
to the edges of the fields,
to the trees
as though their minds were on fire
with the flower of one perfect idea-
and there they build their nests
and lay their pale-blue eggs, every year,
and every year
the hatchlings wake in the swaying branches,
in the silver baskets
and love the world.
Is it necessary to say any more?
Have you heard them singing in the wind, above the final fields?
Have you ever been so happy in your life?

~Mary Oliver


2 thoughts on “A Summer Flashback: Goldfinch

  1. What a great thing to have happened! I love finches. They have the sweetest song. And this poem. Isn’t she just the best! I love the line about their minds being on fire with one perfect idea. Thanks so much for this post.


    • Nan, I love finches, too, but even though we have quite a few in this area, I don’t see them very often. And you know how much I love Mary Oliver’s poems!


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