Sunday, December 1, 2019

For Someone Out There?

Last Sunday I posted a Mary Oliver poem about death. I'm not sure why I chose it--probably something about the bleakness of the season. But then a lovely thing happened.  A few days later I was out doing errands and as I was getting in my car, a neighbor came hurrying across the parking lot. I'd seen on Facebook that her invalid mother had died quite recently and I began to say the things one says. Then my neighbor told me that the poem about death had come at the perfect time -- her mother had died that same day and, the neighbor said, "It felt like you were talking right to me."

Dang! I loved that. Though it briefly made me feel a little like one of those televangelists who close their eyes and are aware of someone in Duluth who is suffering from cancer and then rebukes and casts out the cancer over the airwaves.

Or maybe not.

But when I chose another Mary Oliver poem to post today, I did wonder if it might speak to someone in particular--especially now as we enter the holiday season which mandates joy and is, therefore, so tricky for many, whether from personal griefs or from generalized despair at the sad state of the world today.

Of course, that's the function of good poetry: to speak to us in particular.

"Don't Hesitate" by Mary Oliver

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
Don't hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often 
kind. And much can never be redeemed.

Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes 
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that's often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don't be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.


Barbara Rogers said...

This was beautiful, and made my heart swell. I always feel better reading Mary Oliver. And today I'm feeling full of all the blessings I have: a computer, the internet, a family, and just a car to travel around!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets...She was able to touch so many people's hearts and minds. A few years ago I had a similar experience to the one you describe at the beginning of your post. I posted about a poem I tracked down after a new window/relative mentioned a few lines on facebook. A friend of mine from high school emailed me about how much it had meant to her husband and herself.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Lovely poem and when I feel joy I will give in to it! Have a wonderful week and thank you for your visit.

Anonymous said...

Like they said.... Thanks, Deana the queena