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14 Oct 2018

Devotions, Redux.

Written by sally @ 1:42 pm — Section: sally

I’ve made a Mary Oliver Frankenstein poem from the pages of Devotions. Oliver’s delight in the world is inspiring. I don’t want to mythologize her, but none of her poems are about how she was a real jerk that one time; they’re all about a whippoorwill and the dappled light and the crispness of an apple, and mostly unspoken gratitude for all of it. (Surely she’s been a jerk at least once, right?) Her poems make me want to be a better human on the planet. Oh, Mary Oliver Poems, you’re as close as I’m ever going to get to reading scripture.

“How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.”

Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have.

You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn’t need any more of that sound.

I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

There are many ways to perish, or to flourish.
How old pain, for example, can stall us at the threshold of function.
Memory: a golden bowl, or a basement without light.

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we
change.
Congratulations, if
you have changed.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

The poems, in approximate order of appearance, though I did some shuffling and now they’re all out of order):“Thirst”

“The Poet with His Face in His Hands”

“Lead”

“Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches”

“Evidence”

“To Begin With, the Sweet Grass”

“Mornings at Blackwater”

“When Death Comes”

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