Thursday, November 26, 2009

Away from the white tablecloth . . .




Rice
By Mary Oliver

It grew in the black mud.
It grew under the tiger's orange paws.
Its stems thinner than candles, and as straight.
Its leaves like the feathers of egrets, but green.
The grains cresting, wanting to burst.
Oh, blood of the tiger.

I don't want you just to sit down at the table.
I don't want you just to eat, and be content.
I want you walk out into the fields
where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.
I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.
I want you to fill your hands with the mud, like a blessing

Wild rice Image by The Natural Capital

28 comments:

lakeviewer said...

I'm not familiar with Mary Oliver; but, if this is typical of hers, I want more.

Love the pictures.

Happy Thanksgiving.

steven said...

a beautiful image and poem and makes me remember my ojibway brother who grows wild race in his part of a lake just fifty kilometres northwest of here. south of me by thrirty km is a lake called rice lake because the ojibway grew wild rice there. mary's writing is always insightful, plain and deep. thanks for this on this day of acknowledgement in the united states. i'm grateful for you and your writing and pictures kathleen. steven

Janie said...

Interesting poem for Thanksgiving, remembering the earth from which our bounty springs.
Beautiful photo with the pink cloud reflections.

Ribbon said...

Great photo and I like what 'mary oliver' had to say :)

best wishes
Ribbon x

Rudee said...

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving, Kathleen.

Beth said...

Beautiful and thought provoking. We don't think enough of the process do we?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gail said...

Great piece

Brian Miller said...

what a wonderful verse...blessings among the mud...i hope you had a great thanksgiving! i am thankful for you...

Joanna said...

I so love Mary Oliver's poetry. This one is new to me and along with your evocative photograph is perfect for a Thanksgiving.

Derrick said...

Hi Kathleen,

Rice is such a staple food; the paddy fields look so beautiful; but it always seems like backbreaking work to harvest. Definitely something for which to be thankful.

Thank you too for your kind words.

Alix said...

Yep. Be present.

I think wild rice grows in water. Which makes this even more exotic. Thank you for the lovely poem/lesson/reminder.

erin said...

A beautiful reminder of where our blessings come from. I don't do this with my kids enough...

http://unicyclemomm.blogspot.com

The Things We Carried said...

I have not heard of Mary Oliver, but I am inrigued by this piece of writing. Great photo with it.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Such a rich piece of writing, fitting for our time when we forget from whence we came and the joy that living should bring.

Kathleen said...

@lakeviewer: Mary Oliver is the most accessible poet I know. Were it not for her, I might never have found my "sea legs" aboard the good ship poetry. I've heard her read and she signed my book and was completely adorable and irascible, too!

Kathleen said...

@Steven: You have an Ojibway brother? Do say more. I have non-native friends who are allowed to harvest wild rice. It's quite a task, but he results sure are yummy. And I am most grateful for your beautiful blog and spirit!

Kathleen said...

@Janie: Mary Oliver always takes me back to "the roots" -- no pun intended. I find it helpful to visit her poetry around this time of the year. Thanks for visiting. I am most grateful to have made your acquaintance this year!

Kathleen said...

@Ribbon: Hello! So nice to have a visit from you. And I'm delighted you enjoyed the poem and the photo. I am so grateful to have discovered your blog this year!

Kathleen said...

@Rudee--and you, my dear. I am filled with gratitude for all you do and for the friendship you share!

Kathleen said...

@Beth: Well, I know that I don't think enough about it. But I am trying to be more mindful. And Mary Oliver is certainly a good teacher when it comes to that! Nothing escapes her attention. Most grateful for your visit and your kind remarks!

Kathleen said...

@Gail: Thank you, my friend. Always a treat to have a visit from you!

Kathleen said...

@Brian: Love it -- muddy blessings! I, too, am grateful for you and for the loveliness and the focus you bring to blogworld.

Kathleen said...

@Joanna: Ah, so nice to have a visit from you. That Mary is pretty amazing, isn't she. I just keep discovering new pieces by her. Sometimes her words scare me, they are are so sparse and unflinching. But always, they are full of beauty!

Kathleen said...

@Derrick: And the harvesting of wild rice by our Native American kin in the US is a fascinating endeavor, done in a canoe with the use of two sticks. Then there's the parching etc. It's quite a chore, with yummy results. Don't be fooled by the super dark grains passed off as wild rice. What the native people harvest is a lighter brown and has a wonderful nutty flavor!

Kathleen said...

@Alix: Did I happen to mention how grateful I am for you? Sure hope so!

Kathleen said...

@Erin: Mustn't be too hard on yourself, dear one. You are doing the hardest work of your life right now. If introducing your kids to the wonders of what grows and lands on their plates gives you joy, go for it!

Kathleen said...

@TTWC: Mary Oliver just floors me with her beautiful poetry, so spare and unflinching. Hope you'll have a chance to read more of her amazing body of work. And thank you so much for your visit!

Kathleen said...

@Boomer: Thank you! Mary Oliver most definitely keeps me "grounded" if I pay attention. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am most grateful to have made your acquaintance through our mutual interest in blogging!

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