Living With Poetry

In my meanderings though blog-land, I've happened to cross paths with Grete, whose beautiful blog (To Live A Poem) has inspired me to reconnect with some of my favorite poets.  Grete's focus excites me, because she's not simply reading poems for pleasure, nor is she dissecting them word for word to study symbols and rhythmic patterns...she's living the poem, wrapping it around her life and using it to gain insight into her self and the world around her. So I took up the challenge to live some of my favorite poems, and where better to begin than with Mary Oliver, and the poem I've typed out onto a small card and carried tucked away in my wallet for the past two years.  Each morning lately, as I've gone out to walk the dogs, I've written one stanza out and memorized it, repeating the words as I watch the world spring into life after the cold of winter.

When I am among the trees

Especially the willows and the honey locusts

Equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines

They give off such hints of gladness

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

These early days of spring the tiniest of blossoms have barely sprung from their buds, and the sky appears to be filled with a fine, green mist, the "hints of gladness" which will emerge in full leaf just a few weeks from now.  I feel that hopefulness in my own life these days~ a spring in my step as I walk onto the front porch, bathed in early morning sunlight. There is such hope in all this, such promise, that I can't help but feel saved from the dark days through which I've walked in recent months.

I am so distant from the hope of myself

In which I have goodness and discernment

And never hurry through the world

But walk slowly, and bow often.

Because all too often I am so distant from the hope of myself, feel light years away from ever being the woman I want to be, from even knowing who that woman is.  Because all too often, all I do is hurry through the world, from one obligation to the next, never able walk slowly, or acknowledge the simple goodness and beauty around or within me.

Around me the trees stir in their leave

and call out, "Stay awhile."

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say

And you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.

Such wisdom among the trees, such simple and perfect counsel, this mission of ours in the world..."to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine."  To find that place where we fit - where the work that we do, the life that we live, is filled with people and things and activities that we love. 

So my morning walks this month have become a time to dwell within the poem, to live and breathe it while I move purposefully through the brisk morning air, to let the words mull and simmer in my brain and enliven my thoughts and spirit for the day.

To live a poem...