Friday 18 January 2019

Mary Oliver gone

Mary Oliver died yesterday of cancer but of 'a good age' having been born in 1935. She was an unpretentious poet of the natural world.  She shared her observations with a sensitivity to how the words sounded, and worked to make those words be an echo of the true voice of the world in which she chose to immerse herself.
"the world offers itself to your imagination / calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting" . . . In Blackwater Woods.
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.

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