Random thoughts from an animal-loving French prof / mom of three on things she finds beautiful, funny, sad, or strange.

Friday, July 31, 2015

On Poetry, My Favorite Poet, and Herons

My thoughts are still too far-flung to submit to the discipline of orderly, coherent words. School starts soon, for the kids and for me, and although two of us are returning to the same-old, same-old, my youngest will start middle school, while my oldest is off to her freshman year of college. We also had some sad news concerning the orange cat featured in the blog two weeks ago. Small wonder, then, that my musings refuse to coalesce into something worth sharing!

This is one reason I admire the talent of poets, although for the longest time, I thought I had no taste for poetry. I believed, wrongly, that it was too hard, that I didn't...couldn't..."get it." In fact, I may have been the person most shocked by my decision to write the bulk of my doctoral dissertation on poetry. Seventeenth century French poetry, to be exact. There were a few love poems in there, but mostly it was about satire. Turns out that satire, well, I totally "get" that!  Thus the door to poetry opened.

Since then, I have found comfort and inspiration in a number of contemporary poets. Chief among them is the incredibly wise and talented Mary Oliver. She sees the most ordinary things as though they were jewels, yet her style is anything but "precious." Yes, the writing is beautiful and evocative, the gift of an extraordinary mind, but it is also gentle and incredibly real. She does not condescendingly claim to see for us; rather she invites us to see with her, and so doing, brings us closer both to the world and to our own best selves. Take, for example, the following:

How Heron Comes

It is a negligence of the mind
not to notice how at dusk
heron comes to the pond and
stands there in his death robes, perfect
servant of the system, hungry, his eyes
full of attention, his wings
pure light.

I saw this beautiful creature on a difficult night not so long ago. I would have spotted him regardless. Birds fascinate me and the majesty of herons is impossible to ignore. Yet thanks to Mary Oliver, if this makes any sense, I saw him more.  

Nor, would it appear, am I alone. Just click here to learn more.

No comments:

Post a Comment