This week has been heavy and long for more reasons than one. I am working on a fair amount of projects that distracted me from writing much. Don’t worry, I have a two part post planned for next week and I think the extra time will prove helpful. Anyway, I let’s get into this week’s choice!
Week #3) What Do We Know by Mary Oliver
Wow, what a treat this book was. I felt like I rushed through this collection of poems and prose poems, so I will probably go back and read through it again this week. Oliver has long been a favorite poet of mine. Her poems are rooted in nature and have such a kind tone to them. One huge lesson I learned from her this time around is the power of a single-word title. Some of her most powerful poems in this book have the simplest of titles: “Gratitude”, “The Return”, “Mockingbird”. “The Return” is my favorite moment in the collection. The word choices and the structure of the poem are masterful. I would like to share the final section of the poem:
The country of the mockingbird is where I now want to be, thank you, yes.
The days when the snow-white swans might pass over the dunes are the days I want to eat now, slowly and carefully and with gratitude. Thank you.
The hours fresh and tidal are the hours I want to hold in the palm of my hand, thank you, yes.
Such grace, thank you!
The gate I want to open now is the one that leads into the flower-bed of my mind, thank you, yes.
Every day the slow, fresh wind, thank you, yes.
The wing, in the dark, that touches me.
Oliver’s subtlety has encouraged me to look deeper into what I see, feel, taste, etc. in each moment. She has pointed my eyes to the ordinary-the dunes, the wind, the act of gratitude-and shown me that is where the true treasure of life lies. I would encourage you to look closer this week. Observe your own breath, the way your standing, the patterns of your thoughts. Connect those with the things and people around you. I am challenging myself to do the same, this week. Let’s meet here next week and share what treasures we’ve found.
Other titles read this week: Attempting Normal by Marc Maron, Botanical Color at Your Fingertips by Rebecca Desnos