Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Imagination

Morning Poem | Mary Oliver

No “orange sticks of the sun” this morning. Just rain, gusty wind, and the nonstop sound of water draining from the gutters. Nonetheless, Mary Oliver’s poem invites me into a world waiting with open arms. My comments follow.

Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches –
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries in it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead –
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging –

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted –

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

© Mary Oliver, 1992, in New and Selected Poems, Vol. One, pp 106-07
Published by Beacon Press

I don’t have to feel happy and upbeat every morning. This poem isn’t about how I feel. It’s about what I’m already being offered, and what I already need no matter how I feel.

I don’t even have to pray. The gift is already there. Ready and waiting for me to discover it. The answer to what I’ve always wanted. The world re-created overnight. Wild and beautiful. Carrying on with or without me. An answer to a prayer I never even prayed.

I’m encouraged when I think about Mary Oliver’s life. She left everything in order to make a life for herself. One day at a time. Heading upstream. One small observation at a time, plus a few words ‘thrown together.’ Mary Oliver lived what she wrote, and wrote what she lived.

No magic wand or mantra can make it all come out right. Still, each morning we’re offered the gift of another day. Plus imagination to look beyond the heaviness of today, and see that dark pond of water lilies blazing with color.

Praying you’ll have a glimpse of blazing lilies today.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 October 2019
Photo found at etsy.com

My mother’s spirit

My mother’s spirit
Came calling last night
I saw her footprints
In this morning’s snow
Precise and measured
She passed quietly
Beneath my window
Step by small-hooved step
Down the driveway
Before crossing over
Into the woods beyond
Our house asleep
And dreaming

I think they were the prints of a red fox–which reminded me of my mother’s bright red coat. She would have loved the brilliant rainbow umbrella, and the fashionable leggings and boots.

The tracks down our driveway this morning told me I’m not alone. Neither are my three sisters, each of us with our own mother-daughter relationship to ponder. Mother Eileen died in mid-February 1999, twenty years ago, seven years before our sister Diane died of ALS in mid-February 2006.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 February 2019
Photo found at fiftiness.com

Yesterday’s children

Yesterday’s children
Peer back through
Clouded windows of
Earth-worn eyes
Sparkling with tears
Seeing and remembering
Laughing at foolishness

Wistful longing knocks
On the garden gate
Where today’s children
Peer through iron bars
Eager to become
The adults they imagine
Themselves to be

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 June 2018
Image found at gardenateaseshops.com

roughing it

thin whistle
of white-throated sparrow
hangs in mid-air

The first I’ve heard this December. A sign of cold weather ahead? I’m never sure how to interpret this one-of-a-kind winter song. It’s always thin and high-pitched, and often trails off as though frozen in the air. Nothing like the full-throated winter call of the tiny house wren.

Is the sparrow announcing its presence? Maintaining boundaries? Better, perhaps it’s defying all preconceptions about its stamina, determination, survival instincts and importance in the greater order of this world. Reminding me life is greater and perhaps more precious than human existence inside a pre-heated igloo full of comfort and convenience props.

I love my heated dwelling and all my squirreled-away survival rations. I adore the sound and feel of precious radiator heat on a cold morning. I willingly tolerate the heart-stopping roar of my morning Vitamix machine. It enables me to sit at my kitchen table looking out the window, listening for sounds of outdoor creatures and imbibing my half-digested breakfast. Imagining I’m roughing it.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 December 2017
Photo found at Audubon.com

My flying carpet

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Poem by Emily Dickinson
Poetry for Young People, Sterling 2008

Nearly every flat space and bookshelf in my home office is blanketed with books. It seems the only thing I’m missing is an Emily Dickinson throw blanket to wrap around me on my adventures!

I found the text above in my collection of Emily Dickinson Poetry for Young People. The poem comforts me these days as I adjust to new health realities. They include not being as mobile as I would like.

Since I don’t own the blanket in the photo, I’ll dream about it and baptize one of my other throws with its magic. A bit like a flying carpet to carry my imagination far away. At bargain prices and on my schedule.

Right now I’d like to find a book filled with “prancing poetry.”

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 April 2017
Image of Emily Dickinson Poem Throw Blanket found at zazzie.com/poem+blankets
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt:Blanket

Floating…

snowfall-islamabad

It happened overnight
Small bits of snowy white
Floating from heaven
Kissed this earth to sleep

Without wild winds
Or drifting piles
It spread its glowing comforter
Then tiptoed off to bed

***

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 Jan 2017
Image found at wallpapersafari.com
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Float

I like to see it lap the Miles —

emily-dickinson-book-cover

How’s your imagination? Here’s a riddle from Emily Dickinson. Can you guess the answer?   Read the rest of this entry »

A Blank Canvas | Part 2

Small Islands from the air

~~~Islands of Palau in the South Pacific

In 1984, one year after I began teaching, I attended a gathering of faculty from 6 or 7 sister seminaries. We were together for one weekend. There weren’t many women professors in the group.

Because I was the newest female professor Read the rest of this entry »

Upon waking this morning

Winter Night Sky, c194e70b2bb102854731a6a4f9ff98e8

Last night the planets, moons and stars
sent calm ethereal beams
into each chamber of my heart
asleep within my bed Read the rest of this entry »

fairy lanterns

P1060686

fairy lanterns

blush deep fuchsia

avert their eyes

***

I couldn’t decide whether these were miniature Chinese lanterns or fairy lanterns. The fairies won out. They take me back to California and my indoor hanging baskets of fuchsias. Magenta is still my favorite color.

Of all my indoor plants, they were the most spectacular. They’re delicate, magical and super easy to grow. I saw these at Longwood Gardens in the Conservatory, where I’d like to be right now. Though the snow outside my window is pretty spectacular.

Happy Monday!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 January 2016
Photo credit: DAFraser, Longwood Gardens Conservatory

%d bloggers like this: