Monday, March 24, 2008

POETRY | In Blackwater Woods

By Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Some poems you come back to so very often, because they resonant with the core of your being. I have several Mary Oliver poems that I love, but "In Blackwater Woods" has these lines that I come back to, perhaps as a reminder of how I want to live my life:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

4 comments:

Yogamum said...

Gorgeous poem, and perfect for me today. Thank you!

Dark Orpheus said...

Yogamum You're welcome. Mary Oliver's poetry has that way of just going straight for the heart, doesn't it?

The duck thief said...

I'm so happy I discovered your blog!

I love the end of that poem. Words to live by. I'm also impressed by the fact you post so often. Where do you find the time?

Dark Orpheus said...

Duck Thief Thank you for dropping by!

As for the blog time - er, I have not watched TV since 2001.