From the May 2005 issue of Poetry magazine (the lengthy title of this poem is just as thought-provoking as the poem itself):
The Real Prayers Are Not the Words,
But the Attention that Comes First
The little hawk leaned sideways and, tilted,
rode the wind. Its eye at this distance looked
like green glass; its feet were the color
of butter. Speed, obviously, was joy. But
then, so was the sudden, slow circle it carved
into the slightly silvery air, and the
squaring of its shoulders, and the pulling into
itself the long, sharp-edged wings, and the
fall into the grass where it tussled a moment,
like a bundle of brown leaves, and then, again,
lifted itself into the air, that butter-color
clenched in order to hold a small, still
body, and it flew off as my mind sang out oh
all that loose, blue rink of sky, where does
it go to, and why?
© 2005 by The Poetry Foundation
This is my favorite Mary Oliver poem, one of her best-known (and pretty easy to find on the internet):
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
from Dream Work
© Mary Oliver
Speaking of modern-day mystics...
If, like me, you loved, and deeply miss, the late singer/songwriter Mark Heard, you'll want to hear Buddy Miller's version of Mark's song, "Worry Too Much" -- done in a "roots"/alt.country style with a touch of soul. You can see and hear the video of the song at the Buddy and Julie Miller website. The song is from Buddy's Grammy-nominated album, Universal United House of Prayer.