Making melodies out of the humdrum.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ode to Mary

So, I have been reading a whole lot of Mary Oliver, lately. Out loud. I know it’s sort of weird, but I love reading everything out loud. It moves me more to hear it spoken, and if I know one thing about myself, it’s that I desperately want to be moved. So, before I close my eyes at night, I have given myself up to collections of poems like “Thirst” and “Redbird” longing for some kind of transformation; if not before my head hits the pillow, than at least in my dreams.

Now, I have never met Mary, but I picture her as this totally graceful, soft-spoken, flower of a lady who loves the things around her without hesitation. And really, that’s what her poems feel like to me, the greatest love songs to all the things in this life that lighten her load. Sometimes it’s a memory, or a red-bird, or her dog, Percy. No matter how simple her subject, the under-current of her words resound a great and even infinite, “yes!”

The funny thing is, I want to hush these poems to myself. Or sing these poems to myself. Or, if I had a baby to rock at night, I would lull her to sleep with them. For words that beget such exclamation, such a “yes!”, it would make more sense to scream a poem like "Redbird", but I think Mary does things differently.

She weaves the stuff of life together in such a way that simple truths, like regret and pebble beaches and springtime stand on their head and the acrobatic result is, well, her poem. It’s all perfect and at ease like a gymnast would be, and I wonder why I didn’t think of it like that, because surely, like all true things, it’s been there all along.

Thank you Mary, for showing me the things that have been there all along. And when I speak it aloud? It becomes more of the music that it frankly, already is. It's delightful. Perhaps all of this- this business of art and infinity and invention, is part of what you mean when you tell us to “go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.” After all, how could we not?

1 comment: