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.