Saturday, August 16, 2014


This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?
 from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver 

I have read Mary Olivers Peony poem over and over and over again. I cannot get enough of her words, her thoughts, her feelings. They resonate with me. It seems to me to be a poem about all this is possible in the world, all that is possible in our tiny selves and all that is possible in our one small life. At the same time telling us (or perhaps reminding us) that we are everything, every thing, every single small or large or medium sized thing. Every bit, every parcel, every single thing-large or small-on this planet. 

We are every thing…

and then...we burn out in a trice!

In a flash! 


we are done.

I so hope the Buddhists are correct and we return…and that karma is true and we find ourselves in a better, happier place. I have a feeling I am almost there, just not quite yet, that, perhaps, the next lifetime, will be it.

So far…so close.

I love that she wrote “Do you adore the green grass with it’s terror beneath?”

Reminding me that with beauty and happiness-which open your heart, indeed give you an open heart, you must “gird” yourself to the inevitable sadness, badness, cruelty, inequity in the world. Gird yourself to all things that are unfair. To adore the green grass you must adore the terror beneath. If you cannot adore the terror, you close yourself up-avoiding the terror for sure, but also avoiding the green grass, the peonies, the buttery fingers of the sun, the fragrance-tipped air.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of the peonies in our back yard when I was a kid. Lilacs in the spring and the peonies later.