Farewell to this Messenger

January 20, 2019

The poet Mary Oliver left this life this week, and her poems are cropping up all over social media. The day she passed, I picked up the collection Thirst and read this poem, the first in the volume.  Although I have already posted it elsewhere, it bears reading again.

 

 

MESSENGER

 

My work is loving the world.

Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –

equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.

Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

 

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?

Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me

keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,

 

which is mostly standing still and learning to be

astonished.

The phoebe, the delphinium.

The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.

Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

 

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart

and these body-clothes,

a mouth with which to give shouts of joy

to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam

telling them all, over and over, how it is

that we live forever.

 

 

Finding this particular poem was such a gift at that moment and reading it that evening seemed a fitting way to mark the day and send the poet on her way to the next thing…while she still lives on with those of us bound to this earth as we read and share, and are moved and inspired by her words and her life.

 

 

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One Response to “Farewell to this Messenger”

  1. afmp100l Says:

    Wonder-filled poem. Never heard of her before. Nice introduction. Thank you Sarah


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