Astonishment, Rejoicing, Gratitude

Step329-field-of-sunflowers Astonishment, rejoicing, gratitude

Loving a world that is full of error and its consequences takes some work. I’ve been told to beware the world’s persuasions. And yet, I’ve been told the world needs my efforts to become a better and stronger person.

Astonishment, rejoicing, gratitude

When much is required of me, I find poetry to be a great consolation. I have shared four poems by the American poet Mary Oliver so far. The poem “Messenger” appeared in the book “Thirst,” published in 2007.

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 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.

Astonishment, rejoicing, gratitude. I have taken the liberty of making two versions of this poem, one without music, and one with music.

Astonishment, rejoicing, gratitude. The speaker for each species must say something to that species. Can I tell a dying species how it is that we live forever? All I know to say at this point is “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me.” I’m not as pure as Mary Oliver yet, but I’m working on it.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

The Back Of The Hand To Everything

mary-oliver The back of the hand to everything.There are 240 Google results for the exact phrase “I love Mary Oliver.” There are 6 Google results for the exact phrase “I hate Mary Oliver.” That pretty much tells you what people think about this 20th-and-21st Century American poet.

The back of the hand to everything

I read her book “A Thousand Mornings” slightly over a year ago. I believed that some of the poems in that book would come in handy in conveying certain feelings here. That time has now come.

This poem should be construed as an interlude of sorts in my contemplation of the New Message from God revelation “The Race to Save Human Civilization,” received in 2009 in Aleppo, Syria. This poem paints a picture of the disrupted climate and violent storms mentioned in the revelation.

It didn’t behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
everything. But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn’t stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn’t
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

When I contemplate the Great Waves of Change, the difficult times ahead, I recall that line from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The back of the hand to everything.” I believe nature will try to muddle through, pushing out new leaves from stubbed limbs. But will it be enough?

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Less Fussing, More Living

American poet Mary Oliver. Less fussing, more livingI have started what I hope will become an annual custom for me. It is a custom of reading a book on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, 2012, I read the book Tales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah. I have shared four stories from that jewel-box of wonder since then.

Less fussing, more living

On Christmas Day, 2013, I read the book A Thousand Mornings by American poet Mary Oliver. I have shared two Mary Oliver poems so far, one of them coming from A Thousand Mornings. I will most likely share a few more before all is said and done, like this one.

Good-bye Fox

He was lying under a tree, licking up the shade,

Hello again, Fox, I said.

And hello to you too, said Fox, looking up and not bounding away.

You’re not running away? I said.

Well, I’ve heard of your conversation about us. News travels even among foxes, as you might know or not know.

What conversation do you mean?

Some lady said to you, “The hunt is good for the fox.” And you said, “Which fox?”

Yes, I remember. She was huffed.

So you’re okay in my book.

Your book! That was in my book, that’s the difference between us.

Yes, I agree. You fuss over life with your clever words, mulling and chewing on its meaning, while we just live it.

Oh!

Could anyone figure it out, to a finality? So why spend so much time trying. You fuss, we live. And he stood, slowly, for he was old now, and ambled away.

What’s the New Message from God angle? Step 124 (of 365) of Steps to Knowledge “Today I will not pretend I am happy,” teaches “Knowledge is not a form of behavior. It is an intense experience of life.” Less fussing, more living.

Mary Oliver has spent a lifetime being astonished at nature, and eloquently expressing that astonishment. As we say here in Minnesota, you could do worse. Less fussing, more living.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Maybe by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

I love this poem for multiple reasons.

I love this poem because I believe Mary Oliver captured the emotions of the disciples after Jesus rebuked the wind of a deadly storm, and caused the waves to be still.  The gospel of Mark reports “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'” (Mark 4:41, New International Version)

I love this poem for the phrase “something different crossing the threshold.”  Jesus was someone different crossing the threshold, someone putting everything that had gone before into a new context.  Mary Oliver points out that people have a hard time with something different crossing the threshold.

I love this poem because I’m waiting for an opportunity to use the phrase “like a tremor of pure sunlight”

I love this poem because it describes things I feel about my study of Steps to Knowledge.  If it really is something different crossing the threshold, I would find that much scarier than if it were just another self-development program.

Sweet Jesus, talking
his melancholy madness,
stood up in the boat
and the sea lay down,

silky and sorry,
So everybody was saved
that night.
But you know how it is

when something
different crosses
the threshold — the uncles
mutter together,

the women walk away,
the young brother begins
to sharpen his knife.
Nobody knows what the soul is.

It comes and goes
like the wind over the water —
sometimes, for days,
you don’t think of it.

Maybe, after the sermon,
after the multitude was fed,
one or two of them felt
the soul slip forth

like a tremor of pure sunlight
before exhaustion,
that wants to swallow everything,
gripped their bones and left them

miserable and sleepy,
as they are now, forgetting
how the wind tore at the sails
before he rose and talked to it —

tender and luminous and demanding
as he always was —
a thousand times more frightening
than the killer sea.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Today by Mary Oliver

 Mary Oliver, October 2010I’m sharing this poem for a number of reasons.

One, Mary Oliver is a deeply beloved American poet, and has been a deeply beloved poet for many years.

Two, there has been a gap in my education, in that I have not read very many of her poems.

Three, her most recent volume of poetry, A Thousand Mornings, published in October of 2012, has been warmly received by lovers of poetry.

Four, I have been reading little bits of A Thousand Mornings, and taking great happiness in them.  Mary Oliver says more in the things that go unsaid in the spaces in between words and lines than a lot of people do in the words and lines.  Got that?

Five, I consider this poem to vibrate quite sympathetically with the experience of studying Steps to Knowledge.  I’m patiently waiting for an opportunity to use the phrase “voodoos of ambition.”  Mary Oliver seems to have originated that phrase.

Today

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.