A Poem for the Week

This morning’s yoga class began with our old friend, Mary Oliver. Her accessible poems often celebrate our connection to the natural world, express wonder and gratitude, and exhort us to care for ourselves as our own best beloved.

This week’s poem is no exception. It is from Oliver’s 2012 collection titled A Thousand Mornings. In twelve lines arranged in four stanzas, one long, loose sentence unfurls to take us from the image of “the beautiful white heron/…floating along above the water” on a passage through the connection of all things, our evanescence, and a classic Oliver twist back to the effect of this thought on the speaker. I recommend reading the poem aloud, slowly, to savor each line and see and feel how it rolls into the next. Take note of Oliver’s “pointing” with her Dickinsonian use of the word “this”* in the fourth line and how it places the speaker and reader here, is “the one world/ we all belong to.”

Poem of the One World
This morning
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to

where everything
sooner or later
is a part of everything else

which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself.

 

The photograph this week is a rock rose blooming in our front yard, a beautiful, hearty plant with this tissue-paper flowers and exquisite magenta “star”” and gold pom pom of stamens in the center of each. When they bloom, they always make me feel, “for a little while/ quite beautiful myself.”

*For an example of Dickinson’s “pointing” with the word “This” (capitalized, too!), see her poem “I dwell in possibility” (466).

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