#Reverb11: The Words of Mary Oliver (December 8th)

December 8 – What was the quote or saying that most resonated with you this past year?
Was there any quote, mantra or saying that really spoke to you? Helped you through something? Made you smile?

Prompt courtesy of Besottment
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This one is easy for me. It is the poetry of Mary Oliver – as a whole. My friend Roxanne over at Stories of Conflict and Love quoted her to me earlier this year and it was like a bolt of lightning coursed through my body.

I know that sounds harsh after all – it’s lightning. But I mean for it to describe that sensation of exhilaration, goosebumps – that feeling you get when you read something and the words, the depth, the energy of it seeps into your body so profoundly and suddenly, that there is this shifting within your soul. And you can feel it! You know that feeling when it happens. It doesn’t happen often. But when it does, oh my!

The soul is stirring because it has been touched by something – something new and yet so entirely familiar that it is like going home – returning to that favorite moment or spot in time where you felt the most safe, secure and free.

That is what the poetry of Mary Oliver is to me.

Here is one of my favorites…although it is hard, albeit impossible to really single out just one poem by Mary Oliver. I posted it on here earlier last Summer, I hope you don’t mind me posting it again.

Mornings at Blackwater
by Mary Oliver (from “Red Bird: Poems”)

For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.

And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.
And live
your life.

0 thoughts on “#Reverb11: The Words of Mary Oliver (December 8th)

  1. I love Mary Oliver, too. I am never very good at focusing on just one of her quotes or poems. Of all her individual works, I believe I love “Thirst” the most.

    And wow, isn’t it great to find her words (and yours!) via Reverb11 today.

    • She is amazing, isn’t she? I’ll check out Thirst. It is really hard to pick just one – yes! I’m slowly collecting all of her works that I can. Thanks, Julie!

  2. I have never been one for poetry, the way in which their feelings can be so powerful in so few words has always baffled me. This poem spoke to me in a way that I can’t explain. It is no secret that I have been having a hard go of it this past year, and the one before that if I were an honest man, so its message seemed to reach me on a personal level. The thing I really want to say though is that I understand about how words can touch you, change a person, all in an instant. It is why we write after all. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Jason – poetry was my first form of writing as a child. I grew up reading the harsh yet fantastic poetry of Robert Service – describing life in the Yukon and the time of the gold rush. There’s just something about poetry that gets under my skin and grabs hold. I’m so glad you liked this poem by Mary Oliver. Her poetry is something I was just recently introduced to and it just hooked me from the get-go. Your words – on your site – do the same in terms of touching in an instant. You cut through all the bs of life and put it out there. I’m so glad I wandered over to your site and your immense gift/talent for writing. Don’t stop. 🙂

  3. “The soul is stirring because it has been touched by something – something new and yet so entirely familiar that it is like going home – returning to that favorite moment or spot in time where you felt the most safe, secure and free.”

    Yes, and your words do this to me, especially that post on “Longing.” I just starred it my bookmarks so I can come back to it whenever I need.

  4. Like Jason, I’m not one for poetry. (And I have had to teach it to students and fake it!) But Mary Oliver is so different; something about her makes me want to read everything I can get my hands on, from the first page of the book to the last. She makes so much sense.

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