Sunday, March 4, 2012

In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Hodges Gardens State Park last Spring

I love this poem the way I love my very own life.




In Blackwater Woods
By Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

From:  "American Primitive" by Mary Oliver, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

"Imaginary gardens with real toads in them." ~Marianne Moore's definition of poetry, "Poetry," Collected Poems, 1951
To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.

~Emily Dickinson


There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing. ~John Cage



Kelly said...

Wonderful poem - I do like Mary Oliver!

Lovely photo from Hodges Garden's too.

erin said...

marion, i can see why. i swear, sometimes it feels as though mary oliver can see through my eyes and give word to those things which only shudder in me. her poems are gifts.


BamaTrav said...

I hold things next to my bones because I always lose them.

Marion said...

Thanks, Kelly. I appreicate you. xo

Erin, yes, Mary Oliver does that to me, too. xo

BamaTrav, me, too. ;-) xo

Phoenix said...

Mary Oliver fixes my soul, I swear to God. When I am grieving, or sick, or grief-sick... I read her stuff and it's like a lamp lit in the darkness.

Thanks for this poem. It's one of my favorites of hers.