Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver and Percy

What a great privilege and pleasure to hear Mary Oliver read her poems for almost an hour tonight. My pleasure included tears and welling up of deep emotion and commiseration. I can honestly say that I have never been so consistently moved by one person reading their poems.

Thanks to my old friend, Carole Raye, for sending me a copy of her American Primitiveon my birthday in the early '90's.  After reading through it again, I'll place that now signed volume back on the shelf, right next to my signed copy of Merwin's Rain in the Trees.

There are many, many of Oliver's poems that I might choose to include in this post but the first one I found suits me right this very moment.

Read Mary Oliver's poems. She's is a master. Find the poems she's written for her dog, Percy. They're a delight.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

-Mary Oliver

1 comment:

jill polsby said...

I love reading your blog. You've supplied me with art, books,'s posted poem was fantabulous and I thank you for the start to my day.
Jill in Pasadena