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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

“Humility” by Mary Oliver

Poems arrive ready to begin.
Poets are only the transportation.

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“Storage” by Mary Oliver

“Storage” by Mary Oliver

When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room
for. What does one do? I rented a storage
space. And filled it. Years passed.
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single
twinge of the heart.
As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more
important. So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took
everything.
I felt like the little donkey when
his burden was finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing–the reason they can fly.

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“I Wake Close to Morning” by Mary Oliver

Why do people keep asking to see
God’s identity papers
when the darkness opening into morning
is more than enough?
Certainly any god might turn away in disgust.
Think of Sheba approaching
the kingdom of Solomon.
Do you think she had to ask,
“Is this the place?”

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“Moments” by Mary Oliver

There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.
Like, telling someone you love them.
Or giving your money away, all of it.

Your heart is beating, isn’t it?
You’re not in chains, are you?

There is nothing more pathetic than caution
when headlong might save a life,
even, possibly, your own.

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“Don’t Worry” by Mary Oliver

Things take the time they take. Don’t
worry.
How many roads did Saint Augustine follow
before he became Saint Augustine?

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“Dreams” by Mary Oliver

“Dreams” by Mary Oliver

All night
the dark buds of dreams
open
richly.

In the center
of every petal
is a letter,
and you imagine

if you could only remember
and string them all together
they would spell the answer.
It is a long night,

and not an easy one —
you have so many branches,
and there are diversions —
birds that come and go,

the black fox that lies down
to sleep beneath you,
the moon staring
with her bone-white eye.

Finally you have spent
all the energy you can
and you drag from the ground
the muddy skirt of your roots

and leap awake
with two or three syllables
like water in your mouth
and a sense

of loss — a memory
not yet of a word,
certainly not yet the answer —
only how it feels

when deep in the tree
all the locks click open,
and the fire surges through the wood,
and the blossoms blossom.

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Consider the array of profound and moving insights that the self-imposed constraints of a sonnet’s fourteen lines of iambic pentameter allow. Or how many small and large acts of love are made possible within the self-imposed constraints of a lifelong marriage or committed friendship. Just think of the potential resources in timber, fresh water, fish, poultry, and even crude oil if we produced and consumed within self-imposed constraints on our appetites and our use of resources we hope to pass on to the thousandth generation.

Doug Sikkema, “Minimalism for the Sake of the World”

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