Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Wild Beauty

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

Wild Beauty

Springing from remains
Of a spent hot lava flow
Coating burnt bare horror
With living tendrils
Of naked fragile life
The sea of green moves
Slowly without fanfare
Across acres of ground
Determined to recover
Wild beauty we thought
Would last forever

Right now the Amazon forest is burning in South America, and North America is moving into another season of wild fires. To say nothing of the coming hurricane season and rising tides. And that’s not all. Every day we hear about the latest human atrocities that suck energy from attempts to address the relentless cycle of human destruction.

When I was young, I thought I lived in the best nation ever. It didn’t take long to become disabused of this notion. We’re as vulnerable as any nation, thanks to attempts to cover things up and deny what’s right in front of us.

Wild beauty never lasts forever, and we don’t have the first or last word about life on this planet. Still, I’d rather die trying than give up all hope. Wouldn’t you? We never know what our words, deeds or prayers might do to foster life rather than death.

Praying this coming week offers unexpected opportunities for life to take root from death.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 August 2019
Photo of Mount St. Helens’ rebirth following its eruption several years earlier; found at twofargone.com

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