Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Poetry Tuesday: Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?

These are naked or resurrection lillies, in my grandmother's garden, after the rain (thank God for the rain!). Looking a little worse for the wear, but still so beautiful and fragile.

Today's poem is in Mary Oliver's book Why I Wake Early. I don't know a lot about Oliver, except that, like many of my favorite poets, she expresses great joy found in nature. This poem actually reminds me a lot of some of my favorite bloggers, who find inspiration in the day-to-day changing of the world around them and the way that they navigate those changes. Shari at the glass doorknob immediately comes to mind, probably because I love watching her experience a place where I once lived and experienced much joy in the natural (Durham and surrounding counties, NC).

But without further ado, here is this week's poem:


Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?
-Mary Oliver

There are things you can't reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree--
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.


I love the idea of starting each day with my arms open, ready to receive what the day (and the world) has to show me. And ready to give with those same open arms.

As an aside, I've been listening to the Bowerbirds' album Hymns For A Dark Horse almost non-stop this week. It's great for a rainy, close summer day. See you tomorrow, hopefully with a project!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are looking at the world with eyes full of grace, which I find always brings a more complete and happy outcome.