Saturday, September 29, 2012

mindful adventure

Every day
I see or I hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It is what I was born for -
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over

orange of my soul
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagent -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

tiny blue beauty
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light

steeples? or wizards...
of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

fall profusion
~ "Mindful" by Mary Oliver, from Why I Wake Early

I hope I can be forgiven for quoting all of "Mindful" here. Normally I would just quote a section of a poem out of respect for the author, but, well, I just couldn't help myself. Plus, it's up all over the web, but whoever put it up first missed the second "I" in "I see or I hear," so they all seem to have it that way, and having heard it the right way on one of Mary Oliver's recordings (and verified it in my copy of Why I Wake Early), I just had to fix that. Seriously, it changes the whole rhythm of that section, right?

This poem has been wonderful company for me lately. I go through spells of memorizing poetry to try to keep my mind agile, since I'm hopeless at crossword puzzles and electronic brain games make me nervous. Mary Oliver's poems resonate so deeply with my soul, I love to have several memorized to recite when I'm surrounded by beauty, like today on Cheekwood's sculpture trail, or just in my daily wanderings. You can only imagine how excited I am about her new book of poetry, A Thousand Mornings, coming out in October! [Also, if you live in the Boston, NYC, DC, or Milwaukee areas, she's doing readings this fall. I'm keeping my fingers crossed she adds some dates within driving distance of Nashville...]