Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Poetry that converted a 'non-poetry' type

There are poems that you find, and then there are poems that find you.

Recently, a poet has been popping up in my life. A friend sent me a quote from her; then not one but two of my favorite blogs quoted her the next week. While different poems were quoted, they were all from the same author. With all the poets in the world, this seemed quite coincidental.

And the oddest thing of all was the fact that I - not a poetry person in the slightest - really, really liked what I was reading. The poet? Mary Oliver. Have you heard of her? I highly recommend giving her a read. She writes about the beauty of nature and the strength of faith, and her poems have haunting, introspective lines, like this one, from "Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches":

"Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"

And as an animal lover, I found this one particularly struck a chord:

Making the House Ready for the Lord

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice — it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances — but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.

Now I think I know why so many people love poems - certain words, certain ways, have the power to stir your soul. And sometimes nothing does that more succinctly than poetry.

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