Monday, May 26, 2008

Percy and Books (Eight)

Percy does not like it when I read a book.
He puts his face over the top of it and moans.
He rolls his eyes, sometimes he sneezes.
The sun is up, he says, and the wind is down.
The tide is out and the neighbor's dogs are playing.
But Percy, I say. Ideas! The elegance of language!
The insights, the funniness, the beautiful stories
that rise and fall and turn into strength, or courage.

Books? says Percy. I ate one once, and it was enough.
Let's go.

~ Mary Oliver, from Red Bird


Anonymous said...

I do love this poem. I love all the Percy poems. And Oliver in general of course (or do I mean in all her specificity)! She shows up pretty regularly on my blog. I recently finished Red Bird (does one ever finish a poetry collection)? I thought she tried some new things, or at least some new topics. How did you find it? I love your blog. Thanks for great posts and great writing. TJ

P.S. How goes the sous chef research?

darkorpheus said...

TJ Thank you for dropping by, and leaving such a sweet comment. :)

On Red Bird: I'm on the poem "Iraq" (page 50). I was a little surprised at first - the political don't usually enter her poems. It feels like the spiritual poet has unexpectedly entered the mundane world. I always thought of her as a spiritual poet - because even her nature poetry reads like prayers. Perhaps it is like Gandhi said: politics has everything to do with spirituality.

Reading Red Bird makes me want to go back to Thirst and compare the two collection. Thirst was heavy on the religious - and a profound sense of mortality. Red Bird feels lighter. Like a return to form. Like when she celebrated being seventy, and still "full of beans."

Sous-Chef Research: The research is proceeding slowly - didn't manage to read much.

On the upside - I did manage to get some writing done (270+ words) over the weekend, so, I'm making progress.

purplefugue said...

Oh my goodness...who is this poet? I love it!! Combines 2 of my favourite things: books and dogs!! Does she have an anthology? Where should I start?

darkorpheus said...

Kisane Oh yes, Mary Oliver has at least 2 anthologies (I think). To start, maybe you can check out New and Selected Poems: Volume 1 or Volume Two.

But just in case you want to sample her other poems first, I have some linked on my right sidebar. Just scroll all the way down.

This is one of my favourite:
In Blackwater Woods

She is more famous for her nature/spiritual poems - but her dogs sometimes come into the poems. :)