Any Common Desolation

During a recent hospital stay for some rather serious concerns, Jan’s blog post arrived. This Ellen Bass poem  touched my heart that day and made me realize how thankful I was just to be still be here. — Carol

Heart Poems

Ellen Bass

can be enough to make you look up
at the yellowed leaves of the apple tree, the few
that survived the rains and frost, shot
with late afternoon sun. They glow a deep
orange-gold against a blue so sheer, a single bird
would rip it like silk. You may have to break
your heart, but it isn’t nothing
to know even one moment alive. The sound
of an oar in an oarlock or a ruminant
animal tearing grass. The smell of grated ginger.
The ruby neon of the liquor store sign.
Warm socks. You remember your mother,
her precision a ceremony, as she gathered
the white cotton, slipped it over your toes,
drew up the heel, turned the cuff. A breath
can uncoil as you walk across your own muddy yard,
the big dipper pouring night down over you, and everything
you dread, all you can’t bear, dissolves

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Malheur Before Dawn

Mississippi Quays, Carleton PlaceThis is a thoughtful post reblogged from Heart Poems, and says something that is so easy to forget as Jan notes, when confronted by mass killings and the terror of them. How seldom we take the time to be in our natural world, so filled our time with the assault of information and tragic news of how the human race is the one most likely to kill its own. This moment, though, I am hearing a chorus of frogs and the solo notes of loons down by the river’s edge. — Carol

Heart Poems

Malheur before Dawn

William Stafford

An owl sound wandered along the road with me.

I didn’t hear it–I breathed it into my ears.

Little ones at first, the stars retired, leaving

polished little circles on the sky for awhile.

Then the sun began to shout from below the horizon.

Throngs of birds campaigned, their music a tent of sound.

From across a pond, out of the mist,

one drake made a V and said its name.

Some vast animal of air began to rouse

from the reeds and lean outward.

Frogs discovered their national anthem again.

I didn’t know a ditch could hold so much joy.

So magic a time it was that I was both brave and afraid.

Some day like this might save the world.

At a time like this in this troubled world, my senses are attuned to what might make me remember that life is good…

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The Summer Day

I commented on this post over on Jan Falls’ Heart Poems blog: Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets. In this poem, she captures so well in her last question that elusive thing that I have not yet managed to capture for myself.
That thing I need to grasp before I too die too soon, never having made peace with the journey.



Heart Poems

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

view the whole poem here

On the cusp of solstice, this poem seems like the perfect reminder, an invitation, to pay attention to how we are living.

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