Ms.Mary illuminates the darkness as only Ms. Mary can

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
to live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal,
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends upon it;
an when the times come to let it go,
to let it go

Image by bobtravis


Alix said…
I don't know...

Maybe I haven't had to let go of much yet because I haven't learned how. Or that I can. It is my greatest fear, you know, Having what I love most pried out of my life and stolen away from me. I'm a believer. I have faith. But that's the one thing that could crush it all.

Beautiful poem. Haunting, true and frightening..
Kathleen said…
@Alix: The year that the big sledgehammer in the sky smashed to smithereens my notions of what I would have is perhaps the biggest blessing I've had.

The letting go (and I'm only a novice at this, mind you) has not taken from me what I love most. It's as is I never had to hang on so tight anyway. With my grip loosened and with the knowledge that I will always have what I most need, I've found opened space for blessings I could not begin to imagine.

Oh, and by the way, you are perfect just the way you are, my dear one who casts her lovely light far and wide!
Haunting and devastatingly true. We will lose or leave everyone that we love eventually. Oliver is trying to show us how Nature and her seasons try to prepare us for the letting go.

Lovely combo of pic and poem!
Gail said…
Beautiful is an understatement.
ellen abbott said…
Letting go is an art and a blessing. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes very difficult but when you finally let go the feeling of weightlessness and release is divine.

I love the mosaics of the chakras on your sidebar. I am surprised. I was under the impression that the Clare's Well Retreat was a christian establishment. Which, if it is has me doubly impressed. They're glass, right? The mosaics.
♥ Boomer ♥ said…
Wonderful - both poetry and photo. ♥
Mimi said…
She's right, but that doesn't make it easy. To love is to lose, and to have your heart broken, again and again.
Personally, I don't find it any easier as I get older. I think it's depressing to think about losing or being lost to loved ones. So I think about it as little as I can, and just try to enjoy them while I have them.
Janie said…
The poem, is lovely, poignant, sad, and true. Letting go is perhaps the hardest thing of all, but ultimately, that's what life is about.
Erin Davis said…
Oh, I do love Ms. Oliver!

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