A Window is Where the Wall is Absent

The life impulse to express and to connect arises in me and in all of us. This blog is a celebration of these life impulses. Please feel free to join in the conversation or to just visit. There is a Family Photo Album beneath the posts so you can "meet" my family and I. Welcome!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mary Oliver: "A bride married to amazement"

Mary Oliver feels the life that moves through her and she writes a poem. She has voyaged far into the Fact of being alive. She jots down notes with more than scientific rigor. The austere exuberance of the soul takes shape. Inspired, we embark into our own uniqueness. We feel the vessel of being.

Mary Oliver is not trying to manipulate the environment or extract nectar from the now, she is simply voicing the sounds that take passage through her.

What I like about Mary Oliver is she's not trying to enlighten me. She is not patronizing. She does not beam down on me like some paragon of wisdom. She's not trying to change me or save me.

Her words are a fresh shock of life, an ocean wave bowing on the shore.

Truth has no agenda.
It has no agenda because it has no lack.

Mary Oliver feels the truth deep within herself, and she is one with it, and from that oneness words appear. There's nothing extra added, no cartwheels for applause, no hidden plea for approval. No frills, no phoniness, no hurry, and no avoidance. Her poems and prose are solid and trustworthy, and they strike the chord of integrity at the center of each of us.

Because she's not trying to change me, the part of me that is changeless hears her. She's not trying to help me and reading her words I recognize where I am not in need of any help. Intactness lives within me.

There's no extra noise. Mary Oliver says that most people, whether they realize it or not, write because they want to be liked. I can see this in myself, I can be a pick-pocket trying to lift a bit of approval from others. I don't need to condemn this desire for affection. It's part of our humanity and there's nothing wrong with it.

But I'm also interested in tapping into a deeper motivation than the longing to be liked.

Mary Oliver loves her unknown reader. Whoever we are, wherever we are, she loves us quietly, you can feel it behind the words of her poems. The space behind and around the words of her poems communicate too. I'm sometimes startled when reading Mary Oliver by a sudden daring to love myself and others unabashedly.

Mary Oliver has a passion for the real, while remaining keenly aware that the real is not something that can be captured.

Mary Oliver is not trying to tell me the answer, she's not even trying to find the answer. She is enraptured with the question. She lives as the question itself: a bride married to amazement.

Thank you Mary Oliver.

Note: "A bride married to amazement" is from Mary Oliver's poem When Death Comes


Cindy said...

Such gems, Colleen. "Because she's not trying to change me, the part of me that is changeless hears her." I like the phrase in Mary Oliver's poem immensely too. "A bride married to amazement." Val and I spent much of the weekend outside on our property mapping out where to plant the 35 trees we ordered, cutting Hawthorne saplings to encourage some tree diversity, sitting on rocks and basking in the sun, and sneaking into our neighbors property to see the babbling brook we can hear from our houses. It is tiring to change seasons but so amazing. :)

Colleen Loehr said...

35 trees! You live in paradise on earth. I'm glad you're spending time outside- your day sounds like a living poem. Thanks for your comments!

roseduncan said...

I love her poetry. However, I will admit that I am a writer searching for an audience, always.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Naomi, I think writing to be complete needs a reader, so it's good as a writer to be mindful of the audience. Not that I'm one to talk, because other than keeping journals and starting this blog recently, I'm clueless about what it means to be a writer. But it seems we all have an inborn passion to express ourselves and communicate in one way or another, whether by planting 35 trees or by writing...Thanks for being here and for commenting!

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