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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