Mary Oliver

I learned today- as a happenstance-

on social media, no less- 

from another

I consider kindred

that Mary Oliver (renowned poet) died 

yesterday.

This day of mine

-my own-

has been long and full of tumble

yet

I am fighting for this quiet pause

to

acknowledge this beautiful poet

-this soul-

whose prose (A Poetry Handbook) to this day

is in easy reach on my bedside table

and first and still

takes my breath,

distills me in a moment of held time,

makes my

heart to pound with hard, illuminated rhythm,

captivates intellect, soul, -my

self

“Poetry is a life cherishing force. And it requires a vision- a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed” (122).

whenever I read her pieces whether

prose or poetry:

a life- giving spark–

lilting hope

even

–the lyric pulse

in me–

quakes to life with a thrumming joyous hum:

and I want to respond to her charge-

so powerfully proffered to her generation and all the world:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild, and precious life?”

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

 

 

What is it I plan to do?

And you?

O, me!

I want to respond to her charge.

Mary Oliver. Thank you.