Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End by Mary Oliver

A 'trash tree' (Chinese Tallow) in my neighborhood all clad in yellow.

Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?
By Mary Oliver
There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree–
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of goldfluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.
"Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter."   ~Carol Bishop Hipps


erin said...

marion, i want nothing but this life of the temple. i can no longer bear any of the other bullshit that crowds the periphery.

is this how it is for you?


Snowbrush said...

That's one worth memorizing! I hope you saw Frontline last night because it gave a parallel history of the lives of Romney and Obama. Really, if you can get this show, you ought to watch it, not because it will affect your thoughts about who you will vote for, but because both candidates are so interesting in such different ways. Anyway, I mention all this to say that the feeling in this poem is so opposed to the ambition with which each of these men have spent their lives that's it's the more striking to me for having seen that show.

Marion said...

Erin, it is like that for me and I am so happy to have discovered that poem just yesterday in my reading of another book. The older I get, the less bullshit I take. The seeker in me bows reverently to the seeker in you with love. xo

Snow, you've made my day. I love to hear when a poem so affects a person. I'll look that show up online and see if I can find it. I do watch it occasionally, but I didn't see it last night. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. Love & Hugs, my friend. xo

Anonymous said...

I'm happy go lucky, too blessed to be stressed. Waking up is always a great way to start any day, beats the alternative. xo

Stephanie said...

Thank you for introducing me to a new poem by Mary Oliver. Her poems call out to me...I love this:

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

Ben Ditty said...

Always impressed by your knowledge of great poetry :-)

Serena said...

I'll be looking for more Mary Oliver; this is absolutely delightful!

Wine and Words said...

OMG - Forgive me but I copied and pasted. It means so much to mean right now. Blech. Just Blech to everything but this poem this moment. Just lovely. Thank you friend! XXOO