Books

What is your favorite poem?

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As a kid, I used to love poetry. I even wrote my own! However, as time flew by, I gave up on the hobby and never looked back. It never occurred to me that I was missing on something magical.

A few weeks ago, I completed the final page of my Master’s thesis. I did not feel relief after finishing this massive work; I was actually panicked. What was I suppose to do now? So I went on Amazon and bought “Devotions“, a collection of poems from my favorite author, Mary Oliver.

Released in October 2017, the book is a wonderful ode to the work of Mary Oliver over the years, starting with her first poems published in 1963.

Here is a selection of the best ones:

I worried
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing,
and gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Don’t hesitate
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not often very kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty.

Can you imagine?
For example, what the trees do
not only in lightning storms
or the watery dark of a summer night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now – whenever
we’re not looking. Surely you can’t imagine
they just stand there looking the way they look
when we’re looking; surely you can’t imagine
they don’t dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade – surely you can’t imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it; the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can’t imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

What do you think? If you have a favorite poem, I’d love to read it and learn more about the author.

The book is available on Amazon here.

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