This beautiful world

There’s so much bad news out there today, what’s a person to do? One place to find solace and inspiration is in Mary Oliver‘s poetry. Her newest book, ‘The Truro Bear  is, as one reviewer states of her work, ‘an excellent antidote for the excesses of civilization’. Does anyone love the natural world as much as Oliver? Her poems about bears, snakes, frogs and possums make me want to live outside and never come back in. And once you are outside, the feeling is similar to a Greg Brown lament from one of his songs about his childhood growing up in Iowa and being called into supper too early; ‘it’s not dark yet…it’s adult dark’.

There’s a sublime poem about going out in the middle of the night to meet deer walking in her woods. If you’ve ever come across these gentle animals in the wild, her words will prime those memories. It’s called ‘Five AM in the Pinewoods.

Even though most of my paintings are derived from nature, we often need a poet’s voice to remind us of our own wondrous world.

‘Carrying the Snake to the Garden’  -Mary Oliver from ‘The Truro Bear’

In the cellar

was the smallest snake

I have ever seen.

It coiled itself

in a corner

and watched me

with eyes

like two little stars

set into coal,

and a tail

that quivered.

One step

of my foot

and it fled

like a running shoelace,

but a scoop of the wrist

and I had it

in my hand.

I was sorry

for the fear,

so I hurried

upstairs and out the kitchen door

to the warm grass

and the sunlight

and the garden.

It turned and turned

in my hand

but when I put it down

it didn’t move.

I thought

it was going to flow

up my leg

and into my pocket.

I thought, for a moment,

as it lifted its face,

it was going to sing.

And then it was gone.

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3 Responses to This beautiful world

  1. Gina says:

    Best Saturday morning poem read with first cup of coffee ever.

  2. Ali Hossaini says:

    Thanks for sharing this poem. Nature truly salves most pains, but it’s easy to lose sight of that in the midst of a city. I wish we’d cultivate ways of introducing wilderness into urban areas. I think it could be done if we banned cars, replacing roads with little corridors of forest.

  3. Arnold says:

    thank you. These were lovely poems. I read them when I came in after a long day and evening. They put me at ease and I felt good.

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