Step Into the Magical World of Poetry

I love poetry. 

Well, maybe not all poetry. I certainly can’t quote all the great masters; it’s never been an academic pursuit. But there are certain poems and certain poets that have whispered their way into my heart, or shaken me by the shoulders.

This week my recommendation is poetry as a way of letting your heart open and your spirit find delight.  

When you find the poetry that speaks to you, it’s a magical place to rest. An inviting way to sink into sacred questions. A gateway to wandering uncharted territories where our hearts are free to imagine, expand and explore. When you find the poetry that suits you best you might, like me, feel like the passages are speaking directly to you or singing your life in lyrical phrases.

DreamWork_coverMary Oliver is one of those poets for me. Filled with birds and plants, insects and foxes, moonlight, sunlight and shadow, her poetry calls to a primal part of my being. She feels like a fellow traveler, a kindred spirit. I’m humbled by her talent and I think we see the world through similar eyes. 

Her often-quote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?” opens a world of exploration in one simple sentence. 

This can be the magic of poetry. In just a few words it can synthesize a depth of experience, a timeless, boundless moment, or open a lifetime of inquiry. Poems can be friends to sit with when we’re weary or dance with in carefree celebration. 

Such is the work of Mary Oliver. 

Here are a few of my favorite passages from her work – and the last two are the text from the entire poem.

 

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

From “Wild Geese,” Dream Work

 

 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.

……………..

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

From “The Journey,” Dream Work

 

 

 For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
which is what I dream of for me.

 From “Hurricane,” Dream Work

 

 

Today

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

From A Thousand Mornings

 

 

The Man Who Has Many Answers

The man who has many answers
is often found
in the theaters of information
where he offers, graciously,
his deep findings.

While the man who has only questions,
to comfort himself, makes music.

 From A Thousand Mornings

 

I offer you these with deep gratitude for the luminous work of Mary Oliver and poets everywhere who inspire us to look at the world with awe.

May you find the poetry that keeps kindled the spark in your soul!

 

 

Tags: , ,

2 Comments

Leave a comment
  1. Rhona February 21, 2016 at 8:00 am #

    I love poetry, reading it, and sometimes writing it. Poetry moves us away from the bounds of the ordinary use of language. it offers word as art and opens the possibilities for all art can do to transform our minds and spirits. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Linda February 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    I finally purchased a book you recommended a long time ago and again recently which I believe is similar in nature- Transitions, Prayers, and Declarations for a Changing Life. I am trying to read it slowly and thoroughly enjoy and take in all that it offers. This will now replace it on my wish list. Thanks Kelly. Remember the full moon tonight–

Leave a Reply