Everything I have ever learned

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In Blackwater Woods
Mary Oliver, from American Primitive

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
everything
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Let it go. A poem I have needed this week.

Busy, busy, busy week; no time for blogging, so here’s some more Mary Oliver for you. Mom, Dad, Grace, and Sam are coming to visit tonight, on their way to D.C. for Kelsey’s birthday. Excited to see them all. I think Pyrrha misses Juju (aka Dad).

In the family of things

Geese Flying
Photo source: Flickr user superstrikertwo.

An offering of grace, a place to belong.

Wild Geese
Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Have a lovely weekend. I am looking forward to drinking lots of tea and reading and staring into Pyrrha’s eyes and asking her what is to be done with the filth of American politics.

Weekend ready

Hydrangea

Angela and Marshall are coming for the weekend! We are going to laze about, drink tea, take walks, and reminisce. They are taking the train down from Brooklyn, which is very romantic of them.

Fall brings changes in various ways: The maple trees on the street look like they’ve gone up in a brilliant array of flames; Pyrrha has started barking, even though it’s not intimidating at all; our little hovel is no longer as damp; I am reading poetry again; I am writing again; Guion is… OK, Guion is the same, blessedly the same.

I am reading American Primitive, by Mary Oliver, right now. I don’t know if Oliver is a critically acclaimed poet, I don’t know if I should be embarrassed to mention her in the company of the MFA community, but I love her. I don’t care who knows it! She’s like Annie Dillard, if Annie Dillard wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry. She makes me want to go outside and sit in the leaves and carry on conversations with woodland creatures. As you do in the fall, when you are reading poetry.