|©2015 Ravenna Taylor, Wichechoke Creek, Delaware Township, New Jersey|
Where do I live? If I had no address, as many peopledo not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in thesame town as the lilies of the field, and the stillwaters.Spring, and all through the neighborhood now there arestrong men tending flowers.Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue. Butall beautiful things, inherently, have this function—to excite the viewers toward sublime thought. Gloryto the world, that good teacher.Among the swans there is none called the least, orthe greatest.I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also insinging, especially when singing is not necessarilyprescribed.As for the body, it is solid and strong and curiousand full of detail; it wants to polish itself; itwants to love another body; it is the only vessel inthe world that can hold, in a mix of power andsweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
There are many ways to perish, or to flourish.How old pain, for example, can stall us at thethreshold of function.Memory: a golden bowl, or a basement without light.For which reason the nightmare comes with itspainful story and says: you need to know this.Some memories I would give anything to forget.Others I would not give up upon the point ofdeath, they are the bright hawks of my life.Still, friends, consider stone, that is withoutthe fret of gravity, and water that is withoutanxiety.And the pine trees that never forget theirrecipe for renewal.And the female wood duck who is looking this wayand that way for her children. And the snappingturtle who is looking this way and that way also.This is the world.And consider, always, every day, the determinationof the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles.
I ask you again: if you have not been enchanted by
this adventure—your life—what would do foryou?And, where are you, with your ears bagged downas if with packets of sand? Listen. We allhave much more listening to do. Tear the sandaway. And listen. The river is singing.What blackboard could ever be invented thatcould hold all the zeros of eternity?Let me put it this way—if you disdain thecobbler may I assume you walk barefoot?Last week I met the so-called deranged manwho lives in the woods. He was walking withgreat care, so as not to step on any small,living thing.For myself, I have walked in these woods formore than forty years, and I am the onlything, it seems, that is about to be used up.Or, to be less extravagant, will, in theforeseeable future, be used up.First, though, I want to step out into somefresh morning and look around and hear myselfcrying out: "The house of money is falling! The house of money is falling! The weeds are rising!The weeds are rising!"
From the collection "Evidence," ©2009 Mary Oliver, Beacon Press
|©2015 Ravenna Taylor, "Glimmer," oil on paper with collaged fabric, 22.5 x 27 inches - see more: www.abartonline.com|