Saturday, 17 May 2014

Loons, and us. Your Mary Oliver for the weekend.

Mary Oliver is the poet who currently seems to speak most directly to me of the unity between each of us and the rest of the living world. A loon, BTW, is what we (UK) call a diver (Great Northern, Red-Throated or Black-Throated, over here.) They are not common, very beautiful, and have a most wonderful cry.

Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(New and Slected Poems Volume Two)

I think we need to break open our hearts and never close them again to the rest of the world, as soon as we can, as many of us as possible. To put it crudely - what do we want? More stuff, more closed-off selfishness, or - the rest of the world?

I'd want more loons and less lead.

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