Today I read “Dogfish” by Mary Oliver in the light of my own ongoing preoccupation with meaninglessness, fear & creative excess.
Here is a short excerpt from the original poem:
the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was
for a little while.
You don’t want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen
to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.
There are so many things I love about this poem: I love how it is so very personal without being private (and I believe this is why every reader can see that this is a story about themselves). I love how the narrator let her own interior life mix in with the natural scenery; doubling the production of meaning in both. I love the strength in the narrator’s voice (I want my life to open) – even if its pretty obvious she has had some troubles lately (I wanted my life to close). And most of all I like the linguistic simplicity (thriftiness?), Oliver’s ability of not using a single word too many.
3 Comments Add yours
Thanks for making the strong new version of Oliver’s poem! And thanks for the amazing image. It is indeed good in this hot season to see some snow and all those odd human mind-sculptures.
thanks for visiting!
The fencing looks totally absurd, doesn’t it?!
and the trees …
oh well, thats us I guess – people trying to organize, separate, occupy –
I have always loved that line about the enormous waterfalls of the sun.