Thursday, January 17, 2019

Before she said so, I knew (every book dedicated to Molly Malone Cook)

In Blackwater Woods
           
             Mary Oliver (9/10/35-1/17/2019)


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.





She wrote the same poem over and over, but so masterfully and well. I have a shelf full of her poetry.

Beautiful line breaks, no extraneous words, clear and clean. This poem is a perfect example. 
 

4 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

Yes. Exactly. She stripped it all down to the sheer beautiful core.

am said...

Had just returned her book, Our World, with Molly Malone Cook's photos, to the library, having no clue that Mary Oliver would be letting go of Everything this week after loving so wholeheartedly for so long.

Lilycedar said...

I love Mary Oliver.

Elizabeth said...

Yes. I loved her, too. I felt a pang when I heard she'd died. How much contemplative joy and peace she gave us, mixed in with the sometimes startling sense of wonder.