Mary Oliver

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Diane
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by Diane » Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:23 am

lonndubh wrote:
oliver6419 wrote:Ah well, anyway, whether or not
it was late summer, or even
in our part of the world, it is all
only a dream, I did not
turn into the lithe goat god. Nor did you come running
like that.

Did you?
I particularly love the sense of resignation to whatever it was -daydream or night dream .
Ah well, anyway,
Good morning, L!

Yes, and the ambiguous "did you?" adds to this sense of embracing this dream/experience, regardless of how "real" it was.

I am so enjoying this poem. I can't pick out a part I like in particular so am just gonna copy the whole thing again.

oliver6419 wrote:
Music by Mary Oliver

I tied together
a few slender reeds, cut
notches to breathe across and made
such music you stood
shock still and then

followed as I wandered growing
moment by moment
slant-eyes and shaggy, my feet
slamming over the rocks, growing
hard as horn, and there

you were behind me, drowning
in the music, letting
the silver clasps out of your hair,
hurrying, taking off
your clothes.

I can't remember
where this happened but I think
it was late summer when everything
is full of fire and rounding to fruition
and whatever doesn't,
or resists,
must lie like a field of dark water under
the pulling moon,
tossing and tossing.

In the brutal elegance of cities
I have walked down
the halls of hotels

and heard this music behind
shut doors.

Do you think the heart
is accountable? Do you think the body
any more than a branch
of the honey locust tree,

hunting water,
hunching toward the sun,
shivering, when it feels
that good, into
white blossoms?

Or do you think there is a kind
of music, a certain strand
that lights up the otherwise
blunt wilderness of the body -
a furious
and unaccountable selectivity?

Ah well, anyway, whether or not
it was late summer, or even
in our part of the world, it is all
only a dream, I did not
turn into the lithe goat god. Nor did you come running
like that.

Did you?
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Diane
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by Diane » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:09 pm


it was late summer when everything
is full of fire and rounding to fruition


We are approaching that time of year:-)!

That poem reminds me of Beethoven's belief that "music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life".


lonndubh (about the previous poem, Empty Branch at the Orchard), wrote:
Hi Diane
I was wondering about these lines

"There is a certain commitment
that each of us is given,
that has to do
with another world,
if there is one"

And now I know why --
I much rather the poem without them
Hi L. Since this thread came back up, I have been thinking about your not liking these lines.

I don't have a concept of "another world", but if you take it to be a metaphor for a sense of unity, then I think the lines you quoted mean: - this beautiful, longed for thing is like a commitment (longings are commitments aren't they - they can't easily be dropped!) to the moving towards an experience of unification. The difference between a sense of insufficiency, and spiritual longing, is only a matter of using different words.

From another pov this 'commitment to another world' makes me think of how, just as music does, certain people (or places or hummingbirds or whatever) become important because they have qualities that amplify essential aspects of our sense of self ("soul").

But having said all that, I do agree that the poem could stand without those lines.
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by lonndubh » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:27 am


Empty Branch at the Orchard

To have loved
is everything.
I loved, once,

a hummingbird
who came every afternoon-
the freedom-loving male-

who flew by himself
to sample
the sweets of the garden,

to sit
on a high, leafless branch
with his red throat gleaming.

And then, he came no more.
And I'm still waiting for him,
ten years later,

to come back,
and he will, or he will not.
There is a certain commitment

that each of us is given,
that has to do
with another world,

if there is one.

I remember you, hummingbird.
I think of you every day

even as I am still here,
soaked in colour, waiting
year after honey-rich year.


----
Hi Diane
Yes I too come again and again to this poem and those lines get me every time ,
Is this the point where MO hands it all over to.........
This is probably the point where LC wrote Waiting for a Miracle .
The word 'commitment ' i wonder about most. I went searching and came up with
----- ontological commitment is said to be necessary in order to make a proposition in which the existence of one thing is presupposed or implied by asserting the existence of another. We are “committed” to the existence of the second thing, even though we may not have expected it, and may have intended to assert only the existence of the first. The kind of secondary entities in question are typically abstract objects such as universals, sets, classes,"

And i still wonder ....
the beauty of poetry ;-)
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Diane
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by Diane » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:40 am

I love your response, L. Ontological commitment. What a fascinating concept.

Maybe the hummingbird in the poem is an example of John O'Donohue's idea of anam cara.
lonndubh wrote: And i still wonder ....
the beauty of poetry ;-)
Yes;-)
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by lonndubh » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:34 pm

Hi Diane
Another season and more wonder .
Hope you are well .

Discovered Mollyo is a Mary Oliver fan too
i copied CD's from Lissadelle for her and discovered she worked nearby and was able to deliver them to her personally
So heres to the Bits and pieces of everyday that make it somehow worthwhile

For MollyO


That Sweet Flute John Clare

by Mary Oliver

That sweet flute John Clare;
that broken branch Eddy Whitman;
Christopher Smart, in the press of blazing electricity;
My uncle the suicide;
Woolf, on her way to the river;
Wolf, of the sorrowful songs;
Swift, impenetrable mask of Dublin;
Schumann, climbing the bridge, leaping into the Rhine;
Ruskin, Cowper;
Poe, rambling in the gloom-bins of Baltimore and Richmond--

light of the world, hold me
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Diane
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by Diane » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:10 am

Hello L. It's been a while. I'm good, and yourself?

Sorry, I only just noticed your post. Things are becoming nice and autumnal aren't they. Mind you, I am getting a lot punctures at the moment, from all the thorns on the ground.

Who's Mollyo? You are delivering cds to the statue of Molly Malone in Grafton Street?

That is one powerful poem, referencing 'tortured' artists most(?) of whom committed suicide. (I confess I have never heard of Eddie Whitman or Christopher Smart, nor the single 'o' Wolf.) I just looked up Jonathan Swift to understand the significance of "impenetrable mask" - I see a death mask was made of him.

The last line, "light of the world, hold me", is precisely the ticket after what precedes. Yes, I really like this one.
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by imaginary friend » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:26 am

Hi Londubuh and Diane,

Perhaps the 'other world' of Mary Oliver's poem was the one that Leonard Speaks of below (the bolding is mine)
Nurnberg 10/05/88
It was about 300 years ago today that I stumbled on a book by a Spanish poet. A book that was to alter my life completely. You see I was destined to be a brain surgeon or a forest ranger or even just to go into the family clothing business. But in this old bookstore I opened a book and I read the lines "I want to pass through the arches of Elvira, to see your thighs and begin weeping." I turned to the cover of the book, it was written by a Spanish poet by the name of Frederico Garcia Lorca, and for the first time I understood that there was another world and I wanted to be in it.
This last line of MO's poem – I love that she says 'light of the world', not the heavens, not the angels, the world. terra firma.
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by lonndubh » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:50 pm

imaginary friend wrote:Perhaps the 'other world' of Mary Oliver's poem was the one that Leonard Speaks of below
well Im not sure about that now IF
Im picturing LC at 15 in a bookshop and reading the line "I want to pass through the arches of Elvira, to see your thighs and begin weeping." Another world alright :D
My friend told me a story of his uncle catching him courting a young lady by the front porch when he was 15.
His uncle said"Its stirring with you early isnt it "
Perhaps LC found the doorway through the arches of Elvira !!!
For some strange reason this comes to mind


A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up,

So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
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Diane
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by Diane » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:31 am

lonndubh wrote:
imaginary friend wrote:Perhaps the 'other world' of Mary Oliver's poem was the one that Leonard Speaks of below
well Im not sure about that now IF
Im picturing LC at 15 in a bookshop and reading the line "I want to pass through the arches of Elvira, to see your thighs and begin weeping." Another world alright :D
Ha, yes, so many possible "other worlds", although I like what (I think) you were meaning, Imaginary, the other world being the richness of the "inner" world and its capacity to make art of itself.

The inclusion of all those esteemed poets in That Sweet Flute John Clare put me in mind of Van Morrison's Rave on John Donne (incl. "Rave on Mr Yeats" as he has now joined in), which in turn, reminded me of the nice last line in this MO poem, below.
A Pretty Song

From the complications of loving you
I think there is no end or return.
No answer, no coming out of it.

Which is the only way to love, isn't it?
This isn't a playground, this
earth, our heaven, for a while.

Therefore I have given precedence
to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods
that hold you in the center of my world.

And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song.
And I say to my heart: rave on.
But anyway,

"I want to pass through the arches of Elvira, to see your thighs and begin weeping." is such a wonderful line. Who doesn't agree with it?! (It obviously stayed with LC - I've seen your flag on the marble arch...)

Rave on, poets...
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by lonndubh » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:22 am

Diane wrote:Rave on, poets...
ah indeed Diane ,rave on --- but NO pedestals
Human nature is human nature whether we are born in cabins or castles
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by imaginary friend » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:50 am

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Those lines are ringing in my head. Thanks for posting this poem Lonndubh; I have pasted it into an email and sent it to two dear friends who are currently wandering around in Yosemite National Park, Nevada, taking photographs and playing hookey from the rat race. They invited me to come, but I said no, I can't leave work now, it's too busy for me to go. Those two lines would make a compelling epitaph!
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Re: Mid Summer's Day

Post by lonndubh » Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:18 am

[quote=]The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life
?[/quote]

She certainly puts it up to you doesnt she
there's no more sitting on the fence after you have read these words
You're either In or Out
And No excuses
SO
Im sure I F you will find yourself some little spaces in Autumn woods to play hookey from the rat race too 8)
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Diane
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by Diane » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:43 pm

imaginary friend wrote:... two dear friends who are currently wandering around in Yosemite National Park, Nevada, taking photographs and playing hookey from the rat race...
Oh Imaginary pity you couldn't make it! Second to passing through the arches of Elvira, I would like to go to Yosemite and check out all that Ansel Adams scenery.

For L: Autumn Leaves by Paolo Nutini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNO-i22KcIE
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by lonndubh » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:20 am

Hi Diane
Thanks for Autumn leaves -its beautiful
I discovered Paolo Nutini on my daughters ipod about 2 years ago and fell in love with his music.
So thank you again
Such a great line

,
Like these autumn leaves I dont have nothing to hold
Autumn leaves under frozen souls,
Hungry hands turing soft and old,
My hero crying as we stood out their in the coldHandsome smiles wearing handsome shoes,
Too young to say, though I swear he knew,
And i hear him singing while he sits there in his chair,
While these autumn leaves float around everywhere.

And I look at you, and I see me,
Making noise so restlessly,
But now its quiet and I can hear you sing,
'My little fish dont cry, my little fish dont cry.'

Autumn leaves how fading now,
That smile that ive lost, well ive found some how,
Because you still live on in my fathers eyes,
These autumn leaves, all these autumn leave, all these autumn leaves are yours tonite.
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Diane
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Re: Mary Oliver

Post by Diane » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:54 pm

welcome. When I heard him on the radio I thought it was Ray LaMontagne. They sound very alike.
lonndubh wrote:Such a great line
Like these autumn leaves I dont have nothing to hold
Agree.

Btw The Swan is similar to The Summer Day, if you like MO poems comprised of questions. I wonder how far you can go with infringement of copyright on this forum. I just remembered that I "gave up" copying her too (!)

I hope you have a nice weekend. What can touch 'just' watching the leaves falling from the trees at the moment.
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