Goodbye Mary Oliver

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness.  One of the doors
into the temple.

― Mary Oliver, “Today” in A Thousand Mornings: Poems


Gif Source: (via Your Eyes Blaze Out).

Comments

  1. Liked by 1 person

  2. I was getting ready to leave for work when I heard the news yesterday. It didn’t make a sound, her passing away. It was very silent.
    I read somewhere last night that her favorite companions on her long nature walks were the dead poets.

    It was beautiful to live in a world she’s living in too.

    Liked by 8 people

    • “MARTIN: Has your work become more prayerful, more spiritual over the years?

      OLIVER: I would say yes. Maybe a little bit of that is that the two things I loved from a very early age were the natural world and dead poets, which were my pals when I was a kid.”

      https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=162785079

      Liked by 6 people

    • MARTIN: Because you write about the natural world and because you write these beautiful meditations about your natural surroundings, as so many others have done, how do you find new words to describe what you see?

      OLIVER: I suppose by paying very close, close, close attention to things and seeing new details. I love words. I love the mechanics of poetry. I often speak of the choreography of the poem on the page. And to find a new word that is accurate and different, you have to be alert for it. It’s wonderful. It’s fun. But one thing I do know is that a poetry to be understand must be clear. It mustn’t be fancy. I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now are – they sort of tap dance through it. I always feel that whatever isn’t necessary should not be in the poem.

      https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=162785079

      Liked by 6 people

    • OLIVER: I think it began with discipline, because I did understand that any artistic venture requires a lot of discipline. But it’s no longer a discipline, it’s no longer something I think about. I’m often up – on most mornings – I’m up to see the sun. And that rising of the light moves me very much. And I’m used to thinking and feeling in words, so it sort of just happens.

      MARTIN: Have you always done that? Have you always written in the mornings?

      OLIVER: Yes, yes. I like the mornings. I like to give the mornings to those first good thoughts. And I suppose in a way it sets up the day.

      Liked by 7 people

  3. Oh, How desperately we need a voice who draws our eye to the beauty in this world….I am going to miss her.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Had to wait to see something (again) through my tears. I am too far away to say I knew much about Mary Oliver but the little I knew was SO GREAT. A tremendous loss to all with a feeling heart and soul.
    The GIF matches the mood – moving away to disappear from our vision –

    Liked by 3 people

  5. She may be gone in body but her spirit lives on in the words she left behind.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. If I were to invent a religion, its bible would be Mary Oliver’s poetry. Her work is a center post of my spirituality. “…this decision, this trailing of the long legs in the water, this opening up of the heavy body, into a new life: see how the sudden gray-blue sheets of her wings strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing takes her in.”

    Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond
    by Mary Oliver
    So heavy
    is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
    always it is a surprise
    when her smoke-colored wings
    open
    and she turns
    from the thick water,
    from the black sticks
    of the summer pond,
    and slowly
    rises into the air
    and is gone.
    Then, not for the first or the last time,
    I take the deep breath
    of happiness, and I think
    how unlikely it is
    that death is a hole in the ground,
    how improbable
    that ascension is not possible,
    though everything seems so inert, so nailed
    back into itself–
    the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
    the turtle,
    the fallen gate.
    And especially it is wonderful
    that the summers are long
    and the ponds so dark and so many,
    and therefore it isn’t a miracle
    but the common thing,
    this decision,
    this trailing of the long legs in the water,
    this opening up of the heavy body
    into a new life: see how the sudden
    gray-blue sheets of her wings
    strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
    takes her in.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Valerie Meluskey says:

    How marvelous (a marvel to us) to give us that gif of the owl! There she goes…, where…? someplace wonderful. I’m delighted that so many friends and groups I’m a part of all appreciate Mary Oliver…so she is still with us through her love of the natural world and divine gift with words…

    how do you find new words to describe what you see?

    OLIVER: I suppose by paying very close, close, close attention to things and seeing new details. I love words. I love the mechanics of poetry. I often speak of the choreography of the poem on the page. And to find a new word that is accurate and different, you have to be alert for it. It’s wonderful. It’s fun. But one thing I do know is that a poetry to be understand must be clear. It mustn’t be fancy. I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now are – they sort of tap dance through it. I always feel that whatever isn’t necessary should not be in the poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. She was prolly my favorite contemporary poet. It comes too soon on the tail of my other favorite, Tony Hoagland.
    They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I did this last year, trying out Olivers wonderful form.
    https://srevestories.blogspot.com/2018/08/acceptance.html

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for sharing, David. Her light and beautiful words will be missed.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Her words live on…. and so it becomes time to appreciate them even more 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Amazing flight … ‘Mary Oliver, “Today” in A Thousand Mornings: Poems’

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful post David. And the comments feel like a memorial to Mary Oliver. How fitting! I am so thankful her words are out there for us to experience, forever a reminder of one great soul.

    Liked by 1 person

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