Thursday, February 21, 2008

Poetry Friday

I discovered Mary Oliver in the New Yorker. Why hadn't I heard of her? Her meticulous attention to the smallest things in nature spoke directly to me and, I don't know why, but she seemed "British" in this respect. She is for me an American Ted Hughes with the added advantage of being less obtuse. She is one of the few poets whose individual collections I have actually purchased. Right now, with the temperature at -11 with a -29 wind chill, I need to see roses and trumpet vines and the frantic beating of exotic wings.

Hummingbird Pauses at the Trumpet Vine
by Mary Oliver

Who doesn’t love
roses, and who
doesn’t love the lilies
of the black ponds

floating like flocks
of tiny swans, and of course, the flaming
trumpet vine

where the hummingbird comes
like a small green angel, to soak
his dark tongue
in happiness -

and who doesn’t want
to live with the brisk
motor of his heart

like a Schubert
and his eyes
working and working like those days of rapture,
by Van Gogh in Arles?

Look! for most of the world
is waiting
or remembering -
most of the world is time

when we’re not here,
not born yet, or died
-a slow fire
under the earth with all
our dumb wild blind cousins
who also
can’t even remember anymore
their own happiness

-Look! and then we will be
like the pale cool
stones, that last almost


jama said...

Lovely. Perfect lift for a winter's day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mme. T.:

My co-blogger, Ruth, and I have been inspired to pay closer attention to our daily lives. As teachers, we've realized this is of paramount importance for children as well. Therefore, in our classrooms and on our blog, we're starting a SLICE OF LIFE STORY CHALLENGE during the month of March. We're hoping to encourage teachers and writers to record slices of their daily lives in their writer's notebooks or on their blogs (and participate in our 31-day challenge)

We value this work and think it could have a great impact on the lives of children in writing classrooms across the country. However we need adults to do this important work first. Therefore, we'd love to have you be part of this Challenge. You can learn more about it by going to

Additionally, your support of this endeavor, would be super too. Would you be willing to share this Challenge with your blog readers?

Thank you!

Best regards,

Cloudscome said...

I am just getting to know Mary Oliver's poems too and I completely agree with you. I think I need to buy some of her books.

This one is delightful. I'll think of it and Look! today as much as possible. Not at hummingbirds, of course, but of my sons playing in the snow... and our snowman melting.