Her Wild and Precious Life

mary-oliver-by-don-usner-200x200_bwMary Oliver, the great poet is now no more in physical form on this earth as of January 17,2019. She leaves a huge void but in her wake is a monument of poetry and prose of her making. I never used to care for poetry. Poetry was presented to me in school like nematodes to be dissected in biology. I ran from them Then years later her poem, “Wild Geese” brought me to my knees. I was converted. Years later I am writing poetry. What power words can have!

Mary Oliver was a sage who connected the dots with spirituality and the natural world.  The long walks she often took in the woods near her home provided much of the inspiration for her poetry.  Those poems became the vessels of profound observations, questions, and ponderings and blessed the lives of many, including myself. She did far more than just visit this world.  It is a better place because of her.

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You are gone now

but still, I dwell in your forest of poems

and sit by the streams of your verse

finding sanctuary

May you rest in peace

Mary Oliver.

Continue reading “Her Wild and Precious Life”

When Great Trees Fall…..

tree-1689092_1920When researching quotes for “Memories of Trees,” my last post, I came upon this poem by Maya Angelou, one of my favorite poets. Her words contain such strength, power, & truth.  When reading this, I thought about this same tree in my poem and my father who past away this last May.

WHEN GREAT TREES FALL

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of
dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
― Maya Angelou

Bidding Farewell to My Father

Please do not apologize to me for your physical state as you leave this world.  Yours is not an enviable path, your body rigid from Parkinson’s, your lungs compromised from the pneumonia that finally will be the demise of your 91 year life.

Yes, I am bearing witness to your diminished body, reliant on the hands of others. But my memories of you will be fonder ones.  You were a man of great stature and heart, a man who took the time to read me my favorite Dr. Suess books over and over and over again when I was a little girl. Perhaps that’s where I got my quirky imagination?  You were the one who tucked me in, put me on the handle bars of rented bicycles in Yosemite. All those family camping trips? Those  led to my love of nature & the outdoors & for that I am so grateful .  You helped move me from college and helped me pack for my new life in Alaska.  I looked forward to those care packages from you. When I needed comfort in a far off place, yours was the voice I could count on.  Dad wordpress photo

Thank you for your generous spirit that manifested itself in many ways . Thank you for not criticising my numerous stupid decisions in life, preferring to be my cheerleader. Thank you for being a good grandpa to my son.

I am grateful that you found your true love, that you lived life large and got to travel to exotic places.  You are leaving this life with more friends that I can count.  There’s a bright mark you left on the world and we will feel a void when you depart. Leave it to you that in the end you can still crack a good joke.

I am grateful for morphine and hospice care.

It is me that wants to apologize to you.  I am sorry that you have to end your long life in such an uncomfotable manner.  But lets just skip all those apologies.  May you leave this life knowing that you were loved and admired by many, including myself. Congratulations on a life well lived.

Thank you for being my father.

IN HONOR OF BRUCE PASS

December 7, 1925 – May 5, 2017