For all they said,
    I could not see the waterfall
        until I came and saw the water falling,
           its lace legs and its womanly arms sheeting down,

while something howled like thunder,
   over the rocks,
      all day and all night –
          unspooling

like ribbons made of snow,
   or god’s white hair.
      At any distance
          it fell without a break or seam, and slowly, a simple

preponderance –
   a fall of flowers – and truly it seemed
      surprised by the unexpected kindness of the air and
          light-hearted to be

flying at last.
   Gravity is a fact everybody
      knows about.
         It is always underfoot,

like a summons,
   gravel-backed and mossy,
      in every beetled basin –
         and imagination –

that striver,
    that third eye –
        can do a lot but
           hardly everything. The white, scrolled

wings of the tumbling water
   I never could have
       imagined. And maybe there will be,
           after all,

some slack and perfectly balanced
   blind and rough peace, finally,
       in the deep and green and utterly motionless pools after all that
          falling?

Artwork
Nojoqui Falls
86 x 40 x 38 inches; Stainless steel base: 1.5 x 22 x 32.5 inches
Steel, aluminum mesh, aqua resin, fiber glass cloth, and paint
Jacci Den Hartog @jaccidenhartog

Poem
The Waterfall
Mary Oliver

Explore more in Artists and Poems

Christopher Russell / William Carlos Williams
Geraldine Hudson / Sylvia Plath
Ben Jackel / Faith Shearin