Why should I have been surprised? Hunters walk the forest without a sound. The hunter, strapped to his rifle, the fox on his feet of silk, the serpent on his empire of muscles— all move in a stillness, hungry, careful, intent. Just as the cancer entered the forest of my body, without a sound.
2. The question is, what will it be like after the last day? Will I float into the sky or will I fray within the earth or a river— remembering nothing? How desperate I would be if I couldn't remember the sun rising, if I couldn't remember trees, rivers; if I couldn't even remember, beloved, your beloved name.
3. I know, you never intended to be in this world. But you're in it all the same.
so why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it. There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro. Bless the eyes and the listening ears. Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste. Bless touching.
You could live a hundred years, it's happened. Or not. I am speaking from the fortunate platform of many years, none of which, I think, I ever wasted. Do you need a prod? Do you need a little darkness to get you going? Let me be urgent as a knife, then, and remind you of Keats, so single of purpose and thinking, for a while, he had a lifetime.
4. Late yesterday afternoon, in the heat, all the fragile blue flowers in bloom in the shrubs in the yard next door had tumbled from the shrubs and lay wrinkled and fading in the grass. But this morning the shrubs were full of the blue flowers again. There wasn't a single one on the grass. How, I wondered, did they roll back up to the branches, that fiercely wanting, as we all do, just a little more of life?
There is something about Mary Oliver's words that gets right into my gut. Into my throat and really into the centre of my soul. My utter human-ness. What a reminder she always is of the beauty of this world - of the fact that even in the pain and struggle of it all - even in death - there is such beauty. So much to admire, and to weep over, and belong to.
Hear Mary Oliver read this poem - something not to be missed - here.
"We must recognise that under duress great things are born. Diamonds form in molten stone. The sweetest flowers of man's spirit have most often been watered by tears. To struggle gives strength, to endure breeds a greater capacity for endurance. We must not run away from our heartbreaks in life; we must go through them, however fiery they may be, and bring with us out of the fire a stronger character, a deeper reliance on ourselves and on the Creator Who, like a good Parent, chastizes us because He loves us and because He knows what can be made out of us and that the pain is worth the prize that can be won. Love, hate, passion, fear, sorrow, pain -they act on us and spur us on, they develop our qualities and give us colour and individuality. Why should we want to shun and abolish some of the factors that bring out the best in us, that temper our steel, that teach us to value happiness at its true worth? Can a man who has never been hungry in all his life know what a piece of …
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakene…
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