There’s something about the ocean –
Today I’ve viewed the ocean from a new perspective, through the eyes of Mary Oliver in her wonderful new book of poems called A Thousand Mornings. This is how she sees it:
I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
Mary Oliver’s poetry is filled with imagery of the natural world. Oliver, whose first book was published almost 50 years ago, says her work has become more spiritual over the years: “I think one thing is that prayer has become more useful, interesting, fruitful, and … almost involuntary in my life,” she says. “And when I talk about prayer, I mean really … what Rumi says in that wonderful line, ‘there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.’ I’m not theological, specifically, I might pick a flower for Shiva as well as say the hundredth [psalm].”
What really impresses me is how Oliver manage to capture the mystery of the world, its vastness and beauty, in very simple, ordinary, everyday words. She makes it sound so easy, but of course we all know that nothing is more difficult than simplicity.
THE POET COMPARES HUMAN NATURE TO THE OCEAN FROM WHICH WE CAME
The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth,
it can lie down like silk breathing
or toss havoc shoreward; it can give
gifts and withhold all; it can rise, ebb, froth
like an incoming frenzy of fountains, or it can
sweet-talk entirely. As I can too,
and so, no doubt, can you, and you.
* * *
Jack Spicer LITERATURE Mary Oliver Mindfulness nature writing Poetry Reading to write the-HOME-project writing A Thousand Mornings I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE Jack Spicer literature Mary Oliver nature poetry Nature writing Rumi THE POET COMPARES HUMAN NATURE TO THE OCEAN FROM WHICH WE CAME The Poetry Foundation
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