Yesterday there was sad news (for many of us) in the passing of poet Mary Oliver. She more than any other poet, showed me the way of simple words elevated to song. I always admire a master who can bring rustic or homespun to the table with seeming ease and grace and invite us to share in a feast. Mary Oliver did exactly that with words and wonder for the natural world. Simple and profound at the same time.
One of my forever favorite poems of hers:
I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
Mary Oliver ~ from A Thousand Mornings
Looking for Shells and Poems…
She finds a tale of two
belly-up at the water’s edge,
tossed and parted by waves
along with driftwood and debris.
Their sun-roasted crab legs
kick and wiggle like newborns
with each splash of teasing surf.
Overhead, seagulls squawk and salivate
while jockeying for a luncheon table
anticipating a feast of crab du jour.
As fate tips its hand, (or shell in this case),
our beachcomber recalls meeting
these ancient crustaceans on other distant shores.
She upends the two crabs, and as they wade
separately back into the sea,
she straightens her sombrero and wonders…
Is their mating ritual already consummated,
or is it just beginning?
so many sea and sky stories
with each ebb and flow
ag ~ July 2018
So much waiting to be born.
Blackberries not yet on the
bramble path, much less so
sweetening tarts and tongues.
Spring peepers chippering
moonlight — oh what a wonder to
be the pond that enjoys such a
buxom chorus. Sap waiting to
rise in rabbits and wolves —
their winter stains bled and shed
for the next generation’s fur and
teeth. Wood violets and dandelion
laboring earth and leaf debris
— no less faithful the insects and
breezes that scatter their seeds
and gaiety. Wide vees of geese
to unzipper sky of cloud and fog,
percussing wings and wills of
summer grazing across fields,
streams and highways. Green,
pink and yellow ready to stir
northern gardens into tulips,
roses and corn. Yeast with water
and wheat rebirthing warm and
wrinkled hands — rises and yields.
Rises and yields. The soft dough
braiding Spring into Easter Bread,
Babka and Challah.
so much waiting to be born.
AG ~ 2017
It’s the last day of January already, and at the same time, it feels as if half a year has passed in the last week alone. It’s softly snowing outside alternating between light flurries and squally white. A couple of inches have fallen since morning and not much more predicted to adhere. It’s a “nice” snowy day – just enough to feel like a winter postcard and to sweep a path rather than shovel away. Nature’s shawl, rather than a blanket, looks as peaceful as it feels.
Soft snow clings to the Pine,
its needles purr a gentle white.
Fresh tracks scamper under the fence –
some look hurried, some not.
It’s always a joy to see
an animal’s track of travel
In the snow
picking up a rhythm
if I just close my eyes
I love rain and rainy days. I need the break between too many sunny days ~ yin and yang; light and shadow; feminine and masculine. And I recently realized just how very much I enjoy the start of rain showers. Having worked outside my entire adult life, I was often present when rain moved into my area. What always soothes and never fails to delight me still, is hearing rain before I feel or see it. There is a real pleasure to hear it splatter softly onto treetops and filter down. Even in winter, without any leaves to splash, I heard the rain on an early morning walk, before I felt it. It’s a sweet plushy sound.
I am inclined toward melancholy states of mind which lends a gentle poetic kinship with rainy days, puddles, storms and twilight.
would Camelot really be as sweet without rain?
Adapted from the book:
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren.
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic. It is beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Wabi-sabi is earthy, idiosyncratic, organic and intuitive. Corrosion and contamination make its expression richer. It is comfortable with ambiguity and contradiction.
It’s mantra so to speak: To everything there is a season.
And therein lies its remarkable and simple beauty. Wabi-sabi is not bounded by expectations or desires. Things wabi-sabi are unpretentious and can appear coarse and unrefined. In other words, we must look beyond a worn and wearied surface to appreciate its value and beauty. As a way of life, wabi-sabi is about presence, acceptance and nature. Its song is melancholy and bittersweet.
Wabi-sabi is the poetry writ within our nature and humanity:
This too shall pass.
The garden is glorious. More so as
early clouds pearl the earthy color.
Hummingbirds, butterflies and all sorts
of winged and waddling critters
are hard at work on the Sage, Snapdragon and Angelica
that gently ripple and titter in conversation.
Such a poppy of delight! I do my best to savor
what we shared in the garden, and it helps to remember
that your hands and fairy blue eyes
also loved to caress the Calendula, Cleome, Rue
and sweet September mornings
such as this.