Mary Oliver

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Mary Oliver

Postby Diane on Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:27 pm

Poppies
Mary Oliver

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn't a place
in this world that doesn't

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it's done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?
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Postby Diane on Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:37 pm

Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond


So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

open
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself--
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn't a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.
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Postby Diane on Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:26 pm

Climbing The Chagrin River

We enter
the green river,
heron harbor,
mud-basin lined
with snagheaps, where turtles
sun themselves--we push
through the falling
silky weight
striped warm and cold
bounding down
through the black flanks
of wet rocks--we wade
under hemlock
and white pine--climb
stone steps into
the timeless castles
of emerald eddies,
swirls, channels
cold as ice tumbling
out of a white flow--
sheer sheets
flying off rocks,
frivolous and lustrous,
skirting the secret pools--
cradles
full of the yellow hair
of last year's leaves
where grizzled fish
hang halfway down,
like tarnished swords,
while around them
fingerlings sparkle
and descend,
nails of light
in the loose
racing waters.
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Postby Sandra on Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:26 am

Beautiful!!
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Postby Diane on Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:49 am

Hi Sandra :D , how are things in Chile? We are just about in the height of summer here at the moment and Nature is astoundingly beautiful.

Good Wishes,

Diane
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Postby Sandra on Tue Jun 13, 2006 6:52 pm

Hi Diane! It is cold here with a lot of rain...I like those poems you brought here ..after you put those I searched and read the poetry of Mary Oliver, is amazing, I chose two and put them in my blog... :)
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Postby Diane on Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:06 pm

Hi Sandra! I'm glad you are enjoying Mary Oliver. Aha, I just checked your blog and nicked Morning Poem from it so we can have it here too. You can at least imagine the sun, until it comes out for you :wink: .

Good wishes,

Diane


Morning poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it
the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---
each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.
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Postby lizzytysh on Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:52 pm

Was this one written by Sandra... or by Mary Oliver, Diane? It's stunning, in either case. Thanks for posting it.

Love,
Lizzy
Last edited by lizzytysh on Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Diane on Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:00 am

Hi Lizzy :D!

That one was Sandra's choice; I saw it in her blog.

Here's another:

Egrets

Where the path closed
down and over,
through the scumbled leaves,
fallen branches,
through the knotted catbrier,
I kept going. Finally
I could not
save my arms
from thorns; soon
the mosquitoes
smelled me, hot
and wounded, and came
wheeling and whining.
And that's how I came
to the edge of the pond:
black and empty
except for a spindle
of bleached reeds
at the far shore
which, as I looked,
wrinkled suddenly
into three egrets - - -
a shower
of white fire!
Even half-asleep they had
such faith in the world
that had made them - - -
tilting through the water,
unruffled, sure,
by the laws
of their faith not logic,
they opened their wings
softly and stepped
over every dark thing.
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Postby Diane on Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:48 pm

A Meeting

She steps into the dark swamp
where the long wait ends.

The secret slippery package
drops to the weeds.

She leans her long neck and tongues it
between breaths slack with exhaustion

and after a while it rises and becomes a creature
like her, but much smaller.

So now there are two. And they walk together
like a dream under the trees.

In early June, at the edge of a field
thick with pink and yellow flowers

I meet them.
I can only stare.

She is the most beautiful woman
I have ever seen.

Her child leaps among the flowers,
the blue of the sky falls over me

like silk, the flowers burn, and I want
to live my life all over again, to begin again,

to be utterly
wild.

-Mary Oliver
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Postby lizzytysh on Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:55 pm

... and this is utterly beautiful, Diane. I can hear it spoken.


~ Lizzy
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Re: Mary Oliver

Postby Diane on Tue May 13, 2008 1:37 am

A Dream of Trees


There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company.
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.

There is a thing in me still dreams of trees,
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.

I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?
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Re: Mary Oliver

Postby Diane on Tue May 13, 2008 9:18 am

At Great Pond


At Great Pond
the sun, rising,
scrapes his orange breast
on the thick pines,
and down tumble
a few orange feathers into
the dark water.
On the far shore
a white bird is standing
like a white candle ---
or a man, in the distance,
in the clasp of some meditation ---
while all around me the lilies
are breaking open again
from the black cave
of the night.
Later, I will consider
what I have seen ---
what it could signify ---
what words of adoration I might
make of it, and to do this
I will go indoors to my desk ---
I will sit in my chair ---
I will look back
into the lost morning
in which I am moving, now,
like a swimmer,
so smoothly,
so peacefully,
I am almost the lily ---
almost the bird vanishing over the water
on its sleeves of night.
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Re: Mary Oliver

Postby Diane on Sat May 17, 2008 12:43 pm

When the Roses Speak, I Pay Attention


"As long as we are able to
be extravagant we will be
hugely and damply
extravagant. Then we will drop
foil by foil to the ground. This
is our unalterable task, and we do it
joyfully."

And they went on. “Listen,
the heart-shackles are not, as you think,
death, illness, pain,
unrequited hope, not loneliness, but

lassitude, rue, vainglory, fear, anxiety,
selfishness.”

Their fragrance all the while rising
from their blind bodies, making me
spin with joy.
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Mid Summer's Day

Postby lonndubh on Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:54 am

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

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?
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