November 6, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: a poem of three truths

This week a poem by one of the poets I admire most, Mary Oliver.
Her poetry draws on observations of nature that force us to reflect on observations of ourselves.
This one has been running through my mind a lot lately.

Do you have three truths?  What would they be?


In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side 

is salvation
whose meaning
none of us will every know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

From the fantastic Mary Oliver's New and Selected Poems, Volume One

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