poetry

In memoriam Mary Oliver

The world lost an observer, a speaker of truth this week, when Mary Oliver left our realm. I am a published poet myself, and even in my wildest dreams cannot imagine achieving the popularity and success that she did. I don’t resent her for it, but am instead grateful that we had her for as long as we did, and that she left us so many books.

mary-oliver.jpg

I am spending a hyggelig day here, nestled on the couch reading some of her poems. The quote above is from her poem, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long, Black Branches?”, which is from her collection entitled West Wind. If you haven’t read her work, or even if you have, I highly recommend the poem “Wild Geese”, which begins “You do not have to be good./ You do not have to walk on your knees/ for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. / You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Here’s a link to allow you to read the rest.

Tell me , what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

It's finally starting to feel like fall!

Probably moreso at my home in New Jersey than here in Summerville, South Carolina where I’ve been spending the last couple weeks in order to help transport my dad to his weekly chemo appointments, though even here there’s been a chill in the air for a couple nights, with more cool weather to come next week. I mean, it’s still in the 80s during the day, and I actually made it to the beach for the first time this year.

Here’s a shot of my feet on Folly Beach last Friday.

Here’s a shot of my feet on Folly Beach last Friday.

One of my favorite poems from college was “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot, and towards the end you’ll find these lines:

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Perhaps a little too apt, right? Here’s some of the rest

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

Here’s hoping that Eliot is wrong and that a mermaid choir shows up after all. Meanwhile, here are four pieces I still have available from my Jersey Shore series. Each of these is approximately 4”x6” in size, and is matted and ready to pop into an 8”x10” frame. They cost $48 each, plus shipping, and 25% of the purchase price goes to Clean Ocean Action, an organization dedicated to keeping the beaches and the waters off of New York and New Jersey clean.

Jersey Shore 2 and 3 are on the top row, Jersey Shore 4 and 7 are on the bottom.

Please let me know if you are interested in one of the above pieces, or in chatting about T.S. Eliot (also author of the poems that became they lyrics to most of the songs in the musical CATS). And if you are interested in signing up for my newsletter (which only goes out once every few weeks), you can do that here.

Kismet in the Cold

For many, many years, I've had a blog at the (now unfavored) LiveJournal, where I mostly kept my writing. Original poems, interviews, and book reviews, lengthy series about Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and more. It is still in use, but I am considering winding it down, quite frankly. However, I have an ongoing poetry project with five (sometimes six) beloved poetry sisters, and we write new poems each month on agreed-upon topics or using agreed-on forms.

Kismet sleeping on my legs.

Kismet sleeping on my legs.

This month's assignment was to write a sonnet (on any topic we wanted). I chose to write about Kismet, my six-year old calico.

I watch small brown birds puffed fat against cold
peck gravel for small sustenance at best.
A finch, a wren, some dark-eyed juncoes wrest
the smallest bit of God-knows-what. I hold
the cat up to the window, where she tries
to follow hops and jumps, small bursts of flight.
We both pretend she’d catch them all, despite
us knowing that is all a flock of lies.
She’s lived inside a house since she was small,
found toddling by a highly trafficked street,
a tiny, bat-eared calico fuzzball
with pink toe-beans on all four small white feet.
    She asks to be put down, climbs in my lap,
    curls up, then dreams of birds during her nap.

 


I am unsure whether the rest of the poems will move here or not, but as this is ART & WORDS, I thought I'd see how it goes.