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Archive for the ‘Mary Oliver’ Category

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The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles, nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found —
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

~Mary Oliver~
excerpted from American Primitive

Those who are familiar with Mary Oliver’s poetry know that she has a deep and abiding love of nature.  It’s one that I share, hence I am often drawn to her poetry.  At the conclusion of the poem, the statement: “feels like one”, I believe she is saying it feels like an answering.  Said another way, amidst the quiet majestic beauty and stillness of nature there are no unanswered questions.  Immersed in the wonder around you suddenly there are no questions left.  It is a union with nature that is so brimming with the wholeness that you and everything else is.  What’s left but to happily lose yourself inside that world, devoid of questions now, awash in a knowing and an ineluctable sense of how incredible it is to bear witness to this amazing world and yourself in it.

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plainandsimple

If there is such a thing as poetic license, I am certainly taking it now.  I have created what is known as a ‘found’ poem.  Up until now, this poem has not existed.  I have selected a couple of lines each from eight different poems and two different authors.  I chose Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry for this creation.  At the end of this found poem, I have cited the poems I used.

If you like to play with poetry, you can do this, too.  I found it a wonderful exercise as something to just drop the day’s events and lose myself inside the soft belly of poetry.  Enjoy…

* * *

I would like to write a poem about the world
that has in it, nothing fancy

Like our travels, our workdays
burned upon the world.

And forgetting everything I will leap to name it
as though for the first time

Turning always in my mind toward you,
your slopes, folds, gentle openings.

As a poem or a prayer, can also make
luminous any dark place on earth.

Maybe we’re necessary to each other,
and this vacant place has need of us both.

Calling us back to why, how and whence
such beauty and what the meaning.

To its joy we come together–the seer
and the seen, the eater and the eaten,
the lover and the loved.

* * *

Each verse was extracted from individual poems.  The pattern begins with Mary Oliver, then Wendell Berry and continues to alternate authors and poems throughout, ending with Wendell Berry.  The following references the poems used in the order that they appear:
Mary Oliver, This World
Wendell Berry, Horses
Mary Oliver, Tasting the Wild Grapes
Wendell Berry, Letter
Mary Oliver, May
Wendell Berry, A Music
Mary Oliver, First Snow
Wendell Berry, The Hidden Singer

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I Want

In honor of Earth Day, it just had to be Mary Oliver that I would select, who reflects here on the foundation of Earth Day, being in partnership with our Earth

tigerlily

I want to be
in partnership
with the universe

like the tiger lily
poking up
its gorgeous head

among the so-called
useless weeds
in the uncultivated fields

that still abide.
But it’s okay
if, after all,

I’m not a lily,
but only grass
in a clutch of curly grass

waving in the wind,
staring sunward: one of those
sweet, abrasive blades.

~Evidence~
Poems by Mary Oliver

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paintingblossom

In April
the ponds
open
like black blossoms,
the moon
swims in every one;
there’s fire
everywhere: frogs shouting
their desire,
their satisfaction. What
we know: that time
chops at us all like an iron
hoe, that death
is a state of paralysis. What
we long for: joy
before death, nights
in the swale — everything else
can wait but not
this thrust
from the root
of the body. What
we know: we are more
than blood — we are more
than our hunger and yet
we belong
to the moon and when the ponds
open, when the burning
begins the most
thoughtful among us dreams
of hurrying down
into the black petals,
into the fire,
into the night where time lies shattered,
into the body of another.

~Mary Oliver~
American Primitive

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I struggled a bit choosing which piece to bring you today to celebrate
love on this Valentine’s Day.  I finally settled on this simple and beautiful
poem from Mary Oliver.  Dogs are such givers of unconditional love and
if I were to live by Percy’s advice I suspect I would lead a satisfying and
good life.

goldenretrieverpuppy

Love, love, love says Percy.
And run as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.
Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.

~Mary Oliver~
Red Bird: Poems by Mary Oliver

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Why wonder about the loaves and the fishes?
If you say the right words, the wine expands.
If you say them with love
and the felt ferocity of that love
and the felt necessity of that love,
the fish explode into the many.
Imagine him, speaking,
and don’t worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it was all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(Why I Wake Early)

gratitude to Panhala@yahoogroups.com for this poetry post today….

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I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it
nothing fancy.

But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun
glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open
and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is the dark
    pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
    were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
    out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and
    beautiful silence
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too 
    hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
    even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,
    and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,
so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being
    locked up in gold.

~Mary Oliver
Why I Wake Early

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