Darker Days

Every year we have been witness to it: how the world descends into a rich mash, in order that it may resume. And therefore who would cry out

to the petals on the ground to stay, knowing, as we must, how the vivacity of what was,  is married

to the vitality of what will be? I don’t say it’s easy, but what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world be true? So let us go on

though the sun be swinging east, and the ponds be cold and black, and the sweets of the year be doomed.

Mary Oliver, Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness

Mud

Continuing with a sequence of Mary Oliver poems for autumn. A lot of wind and rain here yesterday and overnight. Plenty of mud…

Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and 
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there.

If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
continuously. 
I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I’m so often late coming
back from wherever I went.

Forgive me.

Mary Oliver, Forgive me

Always at home

Someday we’ll live in the sky.

Meanwhile, the house of our lives is the world.
The fields, the ponds, the birds.
The thick black oaks — surely they are the
     children of God.
The feistiness among the tiger lilies,
the hedges of runaway honeysuckle, that no one owns.

Where is it? I ask, and then
my feet know it.

One jump, and I’m home.

Mary Oliver, Boundaries (Extract) 

There are no wrong seasons.

It didn’t behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard…

 I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that…

 But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn’t stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn’t
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms.

For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

Mary Oliver, Hurricane (excerpts)

Everything moves on

The autumn equinox arrives at 9:54 PM on Saturday, September 22, officially marking the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere…..

Another year gone, leaving everywhere its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

– the uneaten fruits crumbling damply in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries — roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing to stay — how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever in these momentary pastures

Mary Oliver, Fall Song

Nature

 

The first of three poems by Mary Oliver as the seasons change…

Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

Mary Oliver, Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches? (extract)