Mary Oliver*

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver and her dog

Wild Geese

Mary Oliver1935 – 2019

Wild Geese

 

Oliver, who cited Walt Whitman as an influence, is best known for her awe-filled, often hopeful, reflections on and observations of nature. “Mary Oliver’s poetry is an excellent antidote for the excesses of civilization,” wrote one reviewer for the Harvard Review, “for too much flurry and inattention, and the baroque conventions of our social and professional lives. She is a poet of wisdom and generosity whose vision allows us to look intimately at a world not of our making.”

Her honors include an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, a Lannan Literary Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. She lived for over forty years in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with her partner Molly Malone Cook, a photographer and gallery owner. After Cook’s death in 2005, Oliver later moved to the southeastern coast of Florida. Oliver died of cancer at the age of eighty-three in Hobe Sound, Florida, on January 17, 2019.

*This contents of this post come from Poets.org

Mary Oliver reminds me to look to nature whenever I feel humans are letting the world down. Rejoice in the strength of the trees and the persistent bloom of flowers.

-CCW

 

 

 

A Cause for Celebration

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A Seattle storefront

I just turned 50 and everyone is asking me how it feels

“amazing, wonderful and miraculous!”

At 27, I got in a horrible car accident (I was on a scooter)

Had I entered the intersection seconds sooner, I would have died

 

 

At 34, I gave birth and almost died from blood clotting

 

I had breast cancer 8 years ago

now I’m cancer-free with a beautiful family and a job I love

 

My new (and just fired) financial advisor said,

“I won’t say your age out loud”

as if growing older is shameful

as if getting older is bad

 

Last night, a friend of mine told me

she has a friend who has three months to live (cancer spread)

that woman is a mother and in her thirties

to her, turning 50 would be a miracle

 

Turning 40…50…60…(70…and on)  is a miracle

It should be embraced (!)

 

Fearing aging is fearing life

Our culture is kind of sick in that way

The good news is,

we don’t have to buy into it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Who Knows

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She is a porous entity

absorbing her surroundings entirely

and, reaching maximum capacity,

she overflows

 

 

About this poem: Once in awhile, my oldest daughter will reveal her thoughts out of the blue and surprise us with her insight. Judging by her actions, she appears to be the stereotypical self-centered teenager – concerned about social engagements and image. However, the other day, she expressed concern that her sister’s friend does not engage or commit as fully as her sister does. Plagued by thoughts and concerns because she is so sensitive and observant, she will reach maximum capacity and have a panic attack.

 

 

 

 

 

Interval

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I sit with a few girls during lunch recess

we all like to doodle

Tomorrow (September 22) is the first day of autumn (!)

But it’s Arizona – 96 degrees and humid from a recent storm

 

Laura’s drawing pretty ladies shopping

Julia is sketching fashion (dresses, skirts, shirts)

and I draw ferns, acorns and other accoutrements of Nature

kids are shouting and running around us – we remain composed