Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Poem from Thirst

Mary Oliver is my favorite poet. Here is a poem from her new book Thirst.



Walking Home from Oak-Head

There is something
about the snow-laden sky
in winter
in the late afternoon

that brings to the heart elation
and the lovely meaninglessness
of time.
Whenever I get home--whenever--

somebody loves me there.
Meanwhile
I stand in the same dark peace
as any pine tree,

or wander on slowly
like the still unhurried wind,
waiting,
as for a gift,

for the snow to begin
which it does
at first casually,
then, irrepressibly.

Wherever else I live--
in music, in words,
in the fires of the heart,
I abide just as deeply

in this nameless, indivisible place,
this world,
which is falling apart now,
which is white and wild,

which is faithful beyond all our expressions of faith,
our deepest prayers.
Don't worry, sooner or later I'll be home.
Red-cheeked from the roused wind,

I'll stand in the doorway
stamping my boots and slapping my hands,
my shoulders
covered in stars.


Mary Oliver, Thirst


Isn't that lovely? All of her books have been dedicated to "Molly Malone Cook." This latest book has the same dedication but Molly's dates are following, making me think she must have died. I think Molly is her partner, although it's hard to find information on Oliver on the Internet. If this is the case, it puts such a pall on these sweet poems.

I woke up this morning at 4:30 with the first few lines of a poem in my head...but I couldn't quite get my legs to swing out of bed, and the poem is lost. All that's left is the word "stark." Not much to go on. In my memory these lost dream poems are always brilliant.... Has this ever happened to any of you?

2 comments:

Homeric Geek said...

I love Mary Oliver. I was just introduced to her poetry this semester at the University of Idaho; in the American Lit course. Her poems give me chills (of recognition or something?). And, yes, I have had many wonderful "dream poems" that never made it to the light of day.

Homeric Geek said...

You wrote about your work being lyric and using images from natural history. I enjoy reading poetry like this, which is the reason I like Mary Oliver and the reason I started following your blog.

When I read what you wrote about your poetry I thought of Robert Wrigley, too. Have you read any of his poetry? I really like his Earthly Meditations, which includes poems from several of his books along with newer work.

And Mary Oliver's newest book Evidence is one of my favorite poetry books.