Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Poem - Messenger

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Mary Oliver.
(Messenger from Thirst)

10 comments:

Jan said...

This is one of my very favorite poems. Thank you for reminding me of it today -- esp. timely, when I move away from nature and just loving the world (and its people/creatures) toward busyness. Sigh...Such peaceful pauses you present here...

quiet said...

Yes, Mary Oliver has gifts for us all. She has long been a favourite poet of mine.

Cate, I remember reading a poem you published here last year. It was 'The Peace of Wild Things' by Wendell Berry who sometimes writes with a similar message to that of Oliver.

That poem sent me on a search for more of Berry, not a well known poet here and now I have several previous volumes.

Thank you, and blessings again!

quiet said...

Oops ..... That should read 'precious' volumes.....

liliannattel said...

Halfway through that poem I thought, this sounds like Mary Oliver. Indeed! She rocks.

Tabor said...

All I kept thinking was "Why can't I grow sunflowers like that?"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for starting my day with wonderful images--visual and literary both

Iktomi said...

beautiful. thanks for the posting. :)

Jaliya said...

What a beautiful, surprising perspective on the sunflower! Was this photo taken at sunrise? The light is exquisite ...

Mary Oliver ... gracious poet ... There is something of her so deep, lucid, and still ... I'm reminded tonight of Thomas Merton ... the way of seeing and sensing ... the insistence on giving our awareness over to what is real, finding our *right* place in creation, and behaving with reverence ...

My favourite book of Mary's is *American Primitive* -- published in 1983-84 -- There are some summer-themed poems in there that bring my memory to radiating its own light ... bliss of summer! :-)

Wendell Berry, too ... such sober, dusky, contemplative poems ... This from "The Want of Peace":

All goes back to the earth,
and so I do not desire
pride of excess or power,
but the contentments made
by men who have had little:
the fisherman's silence
receiving the river's grace,
the gardener's musing on rows.

Blessings & thanks :-)

Jaliya

Endment said...

Love this one Cate
Thanks for all the soul food!

One Woman's Journey said...

Cate, beautiful. You touched my heart.