Thursday, March 30, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Is it wrong to use the same poet again??

I wrote last week that I have only just discovered Mary Oliver for the very first time. How could I have missed her in all of the volumes of poetry I was asked to study? How could I have missed her in all of the inspirational books and websites I have visited? I know now I must have read her name before, but somehow I missed the poetry - the way that you sometimes miss seeing things until you are looking for them. Like how you have never heard of a celebrity and after you notice them for the first time you see references to them everywhere. Well, I have enjoyed my week of meeting Mary Oliver and so whether I am allowed or not, I am going to use another of her poems - TWO actually - because they are what has made me gasp this week. When I re-read them now I realize that they both have references to wildness - as many of Oliver's poems do. I guess my choices could have something to do with the echoes of my cackle and the Grroooooowwwwwllll I've been making lately! heh heh heh. I just LOVE her!

I will really try to post someone else next week!

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

-Mary Oliver

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 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

P.S. Sunday Scribblings is READY! (mostly - there are still some technical difficulties to be worked out.) But if you go there you'll be able to sign up!!!


Jennifer said...

Oh I really like the last line of the Summer Day poem. Great selections.

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Meg! Alexandra introduced me to Mary Oliver some years ago and I LOVE her, and The Summer Day is my favorite favorite. It gives me chills every time I read it. Also, I love your growwwwlllllll! So cute.

GreenishLady said...

I feel Mary Oliver is becoming the Poet Laureate of this web of blogs around The Artist's Way. ... Everyone intent on making what they can out of this wild and precious life. Thanks for these.

Living Part Deux said...

I didn't know Mary Oliver, either, although I have heard the name. She is amazing. Thank you for introducing her, and for persistently saying, "You MUST read more." And I will. I will. I'm off to the bookstore this afternoon - the one where art books and poetry books are either frayed from use or barely cracked. I always wonder how the frayed ones got away from the owners.

la vie en rose said...

post as much of mary oliver as your heart wants because i don't know many people who don't love her and who aren't moved by her no matter how many times they read the same poem over and over again. she is my favorite. and my post on being wild was prompted by a poem of hers.

Karen said...

I need to think about what I plan to do with my one wild and precious life....a big question that requires big answers!xo

Endment said...

Great post
I am with la vie en rose, post as much mary oliver as your heart wants.

tara dawn said...

Great choices! You know I love her poetry, and beautiful picks for this week. This wild and precious life...what a refreshing reminder to embrace it! Thanks! And Sunday Scribblings looks great! You and Laini did an excellent job, and I cannot wait to get started writing.
I will write to you soon.
Love to you dear friend,
Tara Dawn

Bohemian Girl said...

Mmmm...just beautiful.

Sky said...

no rules - post whatever your heart desires! thanks for more mary...she is always a treasure to read.

In Otter Space said...

Almost everyday I ask my kids,
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?"

The oldest is getting tired of that questions and just says "Sigh, MOM!" But he is 14 and thinks he knows all.

susanlavonne said...

Phenominal poems! Thanks for sharing....I'm especially moved by the last two lines of The Summer Day...a good question to tape to the bathroom mirror :-)

Jana B said...

Hmmm... thanks for introducing me to a new poet! I love the second one especially.