Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Lingering with Mary

Oh do you have time
     to linger
          for just a little while
               out of your busy

and very important day
     for the goldfinches
          that have gathered
               in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
     to see who can sing
          the highest note,
                or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
     or the most tender?
          their strong, blunt beaks
               drink the air

as they strive
     melodiously
          not for your sake
               and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
     but for sheer delight and gratitude—
          believe us, they say,
               it is a serious thing

just to be alive
    on this fresh morning
          in this broken world.
               I beg of you,

do not walk by
     without pausing
          to attend to this
               rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
     It could mean everything.
          It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
               You must change your life.


Last Thursday a group gathered at The Writing Studio at St. Mary's to celebrate the life of poet Mary Oliver, who died in January. There were readings of Oliver's poems, stories about the ways that she affected lives, and anecdotes about the power of the late poet's words to make us think, reflect, and pay attention.

All in all it was a joyful evening, giving us an opportunity to relax and enjoy each other's company while sharing--a real gift of community. I have been thinking about this poem of Mary Oliver's, Invitation, as I continue to spend extra time with her words following her death.

To be attentive to the simple gift of life, all around all the time, always available to us when we stop. Yes, the world aches, and yes, the world is beautiful all the same. This Lenten season calls me to let go of my own agenda for myself a bit, with its self-created demands for personal growth, and to attend to the "rather ridiculous performances" which bring me out of my self daily--feasts for the heart and soul.

Thank you, Mary, for the reminder. And thank you to those who gathered to celebrate her.

Let us walk in the holy presence.


Lingering with Mary

Oh do you have time      to linger           for just a little while                out of your busy and very important day      for t...