Monday, July 8, 2019

Focused on Gratitude with Mary as Guide

Mary Oliver's wonderful poem, Gratitude, arrived in my inbox while I was away on vacation visiting with friends in Acadia National Park. I couldn't help but use it as a reflection on my journey through Maine. I've used it before, but I can't think of a time when I don't want to re-visit an MO poem!

Mary's version:
What did you notice?

The dew snail;
the low-flying sparrow;
the bat, on the wind, in the dark;
big-chested geese, in the V of sleekest performance;
the soft toad, patient in the hot sand;
the sweet-hungry ants;
the uproar of mice in the empty house;
the tin music of the cricket’s body;
the blouse of the goldenrod.

What did you hear?

The thrush greeting the morning;
the little bluebirds in their hot box;
the salty talk of the wren,
then the deep cup of the hour of silence.

What did you admire?

The oaks, letting down their dark and hairy fruit;
the carrot, rising in its elongated waist;
the onion, sheet after sheet, curved inward to the
pale green wand;
at the end of summer the brassy dust, the almost liquid
beauty of the flowers;
then the ferns, scrawned black by the frost.

What astonished you?

The swallows making their dip and turn over the water.

What would you like to see again?

My dog: her energy and exuberance, her willingness,
her language beyond all nimbleness of tongue, her
recklessness, her loyalty, her sweetness, her
sturdy legs, her curled black lip, her snap.

What was most tender?

Queen Anne’s lace, with its parsnip root;
the everlasting in its bonnets of wool;
the kinks and turns of the tupelo’s body;
the tall, blank banks of sand;
the clam, clamped down.

What was most wonderful?

The sea, and its wide shoulders;
the sea and its triangles;
the sea lying back on its long athlete’s spine.

What did you think was happening?

The green breast of the hummingbird;
the eye of the pond;
the wet face of the lily;
the bright, puckered knee of the broken oak;
the red tulip of the fox’s mouth;
the up-swing, the down-pour, the frayed sleeve
of the first snow—

so the gods shake us from our sleep.

My version:

What did you notice?
Clear water all around, the smell of
fresh pine all around
Nature giving itself in relationship to each of us,
each of us willing to enter

What did you hear?
The silence of the busy mountain in the early morning
as the sun rose to greet us with a new day

What did you admire?
The intentionality of life on Mount Desert Island; the conservation
of resources, the awareness of nature as gift, the appreciation of community 
 as a reality of being human.

What astonished you?
The simplicity of the Roosevelt’s summer home
on Campobello Island, much simpler
than homes we find along the shore or in the suburbs today.
Plus, a harmonious relationship between nations on display.


What would you like to see again?
The lupine in season, flooding the fields with purple beauty

What was most tender?
Dear friends and their presence...simply that.

What was most wonderful?
The flavors! Lobster; blueberries; simple, fresh meals
shared as eucharist.

What did you think was happening?
The experience of the joy of life lived in fullness.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

There Is Need of Only Rhythm

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