July 7, 2009

Poems by Mary Oliver

Thank you to the young filmmaker Sophia Pande for the recent gift of Evidence, Poems by Mary Oliver, published by Beacon Press, 2009. It was a timely read because in the July 5, 2009 edition of the New York Times, Mary Duenwald writes of the poet in her article The Land and Words of Mary Oliver, the Bard of Provincetown. It's also timely because I want to wish the artist David Carrino (often of Provincetown) a happy and memorable birthday today. 

Ms. Duenwald writes that the poet first "moved to Provincetown to be with the woman she loved, and to whom she has dedicated her books of poetry, Molly Malone Cook."  The article goes on to say "this small patch of earth, a two-mile-long smattering of a dozen or so freshwater ponds on the northwest tip of Cape Cod, is where Mary Oliver, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who has a devoted audience, has set most of her poetry since she arrived in Provincetown in the 1960s."  Here is a link to the article's audio slide show with Ms. Oliver reading At Blackwater Pond and The Sun, with photographs by Andrea Mohin.

It caught my attention that the foreword to Evidence is a short quote by Kierkegaard - "We create ourselves by our choices." Such a simple and beautiful idea to remember. - PS  



Everyone should be born into this world happy
and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I'm not where I started!

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.

Halleluiah, I'm sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel I have wings.


I Want to Write Something So Simply

I want to write something
so simply
about love
or about pain
that even
as you are reading
you feel it
and as you read
you keep feeling it
and though it be my story
it will be common,
though it be singular
it will be known to you
so that by the end
you will think -
no, you will realize - 
that it was all the while
yourself arranging the words,
that it was all the time
words that you yourself,
out of your own heart
had been saying.

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