mary oliver

Perseid Meteor Shower Flagstaff Arizona by Logan Brumm

"Walking to Oak-Head Pond, and Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the Next Days and Weeks"

What is so utterly invisible
as tomorrow?
Not love,
not the wind,
not the inside of stone.
Not anything.
And yet, how often I'm fooled-
I'm wading along
in the sunlight-
and I'm sure I can see the fields and the ponds shining
days ahead-
I can see the light spilling
like a shower of meteors
into next week's trees,
and I plan to be there soon-
and, so far, I am
just that lucky,
my legs splashing
over the edge of darkness,
my heart on fire.
I don't know where
such certainty comes from-
the brave flesh
or the theater of the mind-
but if I had to guess
I would say that only
what the soul is supposed to be
could send us forth
with such cheer
as even the leaf must wear
as it unfurls
its fragrant body, and shines
against the hard possibility of stoppage-
which, day after day,
before such brisk, corpuscular belief,
shudders, and gives way.

~ Mary Oliver from What Do We Know:  Poems and Prose Poems 
Da Capo Press 2002

for goatman and meteor scoffers


national poetry month

It hasn't escaped me that April is national poetry month in America.  According to Wikipedia, April is also:  Child Abuse Prevention Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Confederate History Month, Financial Literacy Month, National Multiple Birth Awareness Month (multiple birth?? really?? I need to be aware of this ???), School Library Month, Earth Awareness Month, Math Awareness Month, Autism Awareness Month, Occupational Therapy Month, Month of the Military Child, Adenomyosis Awareness Month (what???), Polycystic Ovary Syndrome month, Southern Side Dish Potluck Month and Alcohol Awareness Month ....... phew.  What a list.  I don't know what half of these designations are ...?!  Umm... I posted on grapefruit vodka, so I suppose that covers Alcohol Awareness ..... and so on and so forth.  So much for commemorative months.  Suffice to say that yes, I am, as always, reading poetry this month thanks to Soub for gifting me with Ted Kooser's  Delights and Shadows. I wouldn't say that I am particularly delighted by Kooser's work as a whole (and this is probably more a testament to my general mood of late spring apathy than a commentary on Ted's writing), but I do find small gems of lines scattered about in this slim volume that do delight me.  And possibly in this age of the text, the instagram, the facebook wall, the tumblr blog, I am getting what I deserve:  the 60 second flash poem.  What better way to impress upon friends and colleagues that I am erudite and cultured than to wittily rejoin (without proper context of course):  The sweet small clumsy feet of April came into the ragged meadow of my soul ... e.e. cummings, thank you.  It has been quite a popular reblog on tumblr recently with 7497 likes and / or reblogs so far.  Have many delved farther into this small sweet line?  if i have made, my lady, intricate appears to be neither sweet nor clumsy.  Shall we add the rest of the truncated poem's lines?  Oh sure, RDG, let's go there:

if i have made, my lady, intricate
imperfect various things chiefly which wrong
your eyes (frailer than most deep dreams are frail)
songs less firm than your body's whitest song
upon my mind-if i have failed to snare
the glance too shy-if through my singing slips
the very skillful strangeness of your smile
the keep primeval silence of your hair

-let the world say "his most wise music stole
nothing from death"-
you only will create
(who are so perfectly alive) my shame:
lady through whose profound and fragile lips
the sweet small clumsy feet of April came

into the ragged meadow of my soul.

And my mind is utterly exhausted.  The line describing a lady's profound and fragile lips certainly changes the context of April's sweet small clumsy feet.  Forgive me my lack of intellectual enthusiasm:  I'll take the 60 second version, thank you, along with my cinnamon dolce latte with extra whip. (An aside:  I thought this inability to sustain prolonged attention to, albeit, a rather short poem would be the defining trait of 'hipster', but urban dictionary has rightly chastised me.  Aging anti-hipster is probably a better self description). And I refuse to chalk up my transient apathy to age.  I think it is more a case of the delayed blues - January and February being full of housey thoughts and doings - so my old blue friend has come to lay his head in my April lap.  I did intend to share a few of Ted Kooser's better lines, but the book is upstairs and upstairs is a lot further away from downstairs in the new house than it was at the townhouse.  There was a particularly great image of two young cousins spying on an aunt courting her boyfriend in a porch swing.  They were hiding on the roof above and so caught up in stifling their laughter, they peed on the roof.  Ted's poems are "accessible" in that way ... (yep, that was from a dust jacket review.) And I have a lovely Mary Oliver poem I want to post.  She uses the word 'corpuscle' - I just love that!  But in the way of tumblr and 60 second poems, I think the Mary Oliver poem is an amalgamation of two or three of Mary's poems.  Or a mix of her better lines ..........

I think I'll tackle Math Awareness in my next post.



A Happy Birthday

from Moon Games by Laurent Laveder

This evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could have easily switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride this day down into night,
to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

~Ted Kooser from Delights and Shadows


Here's to 50 More!

Amen to that!
It means I can still use words like "Awesome"
I was hoping for 'All you can eat Pancakes'
I ended up with a bottle of this (already emptied)
And 3 lbs of these.
Soub was not a fan ...
He wisely chose the shrimp po' boy :-)

Happy 50th Birthday to Me !!


(my) Season of Lilac

artist:  Unknown
Season of Lilac

in april you come to me again in lilac
fall on my cheek like rain
take my hair like wind.

it is the sense of you the heat
brings in august, when life glistens
on skin and earth's deep smell climbs
high, bursting the veins of leaves
with the kind of joy birds know
as night cocoons  to day, seasons turning

and december falls with the clear breath of you
sweetened ice on my tongue;

fall is the time when days drift
to sea to smother sand with damp wings
and your eyes touch fire, causing spark.

the seasons are full with you
the calendar rattles its leaves
for a glimpse of time's reflection
racing through my blood -
leaves fall, grass strains for wind
the soggy sky shakes itself dry
like a dog in from the snow to the fire
and love climbs like smoke
seeking its own level.

in april, then, you come to me in lilac
fall on my cheek like warm rain
take my hair like gentle wind
call me to lie down in fragrance.

~Dave Margoshes