The Place I Want to Get Back To


The Place I Want to Get Back Tois where in the pinewoods in the moments between the darkness

and first light two deer came walking down the hill and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay, this one is okay, let’s see who she is and why she is sitting

on the ground like that, so quiet, as if asleep, or in a dream, but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came on their slender legs and gazed upon me not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look and look and look into the faces of the flowers; and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life bring to me that could exceed that brief moment? For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods, not waiting, exactly, just lingering. Such gifts, bestowed, can’t be repeated.

If you want to talk about this come to visit. I live in the house near the corner, which I have named Gratitude.

(c) Mary Oliver

  • Write about an enchanted moment when you encountered a wild creature on your wanderings/ What happened? What did you notice? How did you feel?
  • The poet imagines the deer saying to each other, "this one is okay." What do you imagine the wild creature you encountered said about you? Write your reflections in your journal.
  • What is the most intense emotional experience you've had with a wild animal? Write a poem beginning with the words, "If you want to talk about this..."

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