In The Storm
A Gratitude Poem 
by Mary Oliver

In the Storm


Some black ducks
were shrugged up
on the shore.
It was snowing hard, from the east,
and the sea
was in disorder.
Then some sanderlings, five inches long
with beaks like wire,
flew in,
snowflakes on their backs, and settled
in a row
behind the ducks—
whose backs were also covered with snow—
so close
they were all but touching,
they were all but under the roof of the ducks' tails,
so the wind, pretty much,
blew over them.
They stayed that way, motionless, for maybe an hour,
then the sanderlings,
each a handful of feathers,
shifted, and were blown away

out over the water,
which was still raging.
But, somehow,
they came back and again the ducks,
like a feathered hedge,
let them
stoop there, and live. If someone you didn't know
told you this,
as I am telling you this,
would you believe it? Belief isn't always easy.
But this much I have learned,
if not enough else—
to live with my eyes open. I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn't a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness—as now and again
some rare person has suggested—
is a miracle.
As surely it is.


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