there's something about Mary ....

from The Poetry Foundation on Mary Oliver:

Poet Mary Oliver is an “indefatigable guide to the natural world,” wrote Maxine Kumin in the Women’s Review of Books, “particularly to its lesser-known aspects.” Oliver’s verse focuses on the quiet of occurrences of nature: industrious hummingbirds, egrets, motionless ponds, “lean owls / hunkering with their lamp-eyes.” Kumin noted that Oliver “stands quite comfortably on the margins of things, on the line between earth and sky, the thin membrane that separates human from what we loosely call animal.” Oliver’s poetry has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and a Lannan Literary Award. Reviewing Dream Work (1986) for the Nation, critic Alicia Ostriker numbered Oliver among America’s finest poets, as “visionary as [Ralph Waldo] Emerson.”

Winter in the Country
~ Mary Oliver

The terror of the country
Is not the easy death,
The fall of hawks out hunting
Across the musical earth,

Nor yet the useless borning
In every leafy den.
The terror is that nothing
Laments the narrow span.

Beasts of all marvelous feature,
Of vibrant hoof and wing,
Watch the white hands of winter
Undoing everything,

And do not cry or argue.
The starvlings of the day
Never dreamt of better.
Nibbling, they fall away.

The terror of the country
Is prey and hawk together,
Still flying, both exhausted,
In the blue sack of weather.



J Cosmo Newbery said...

As I muddle around in my limericks, I realise there is so much more to learn. (sigh)

Adullamite said...

There is much more, and better, about RDG.....

red dirt girl said...

It's all inspiration. If you don't play, how do you learn or grow?


red dirt girl said...

Sweet, Adullamite, you think too highly of me. I am ordinary and unremarkable. But I do have a fascinating mind ;-)


goatman said...

Walking in the woods last we found --or really, the dogs found-- a dead buck deer. Mostly he was gone down to skin and bones and antlers (five points on one side four on the other). As near as I can tell he was 4 or 5 years and probably shot during the November deer season, not a good shot as he might have run for miles before dying.

We are supposed to report such findings to a state-paid conservation agent, maybe for counting or come sort of record keeping.
Yeah . . . that's gonna happen.

red dirt girl said...

Oh goatman ... i don't know whether to say EWWWW or too bad ...??!!

Growing up in the country, I experienced my fair share of 'animal deaths' - but always felt quite sad and ambivalent at the same time. Unlike Mary who seems to take it all within her as she writes: life, death, prey and predator. She sees it as part of the cycle of life that it is. I suppose being 'citified' all these years has made me a touch too sentimental about animal deaths.

Do you ever see on television that ad for the Humane Society - the one that starts out with a shivering dog and asks will I die today ?? My children think it is very creepy. That's what happens when you grow up somewhat annexed from natural life, I think...


bulletholes said...

I like Oliver because she is so =good at setting a trap, and giving you a kind of surprise ending, with a great twist. Heres one of hers I posted, its not the best example, but its pretty good.

red dirt girl said...

Ohhhhh ..... I really like that one, cowboy!! I confess I haven't read much of Oliver's (other than a poem here and there) mostly because I've always associate her with 'nature' poetry. But it is definitely nature with bite!

thank you - xxx!

ps great sun pic too.

Lin said...

Oh, it took me a couple days to find this!!! Thank you! I love Mary Oliver. I like her twists and turns...

She is simple, yet complex.


red dirt girl said...

Hi Lin !! I think you are absolutely right about Mary Oliver - she is deceptively simple and actually quite complex and contemplative. Thank you for leading me back to her poetry. I like it :)