Tag Archives: Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

“maybe death
isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light
wrapping itself around us–”
Mary Oliver 1935-2019

Those of you who have been following my ramblings these past years, know that Mary Oliver has been a favourite poet of mine for so long.

Many of her quotes grace the pages of my blog posts and may I say, that indeed she did add grace to the pages.

So rest in peace Mary after a life well lived. You will now never know the new readers who find your poems from whatever source, nor will you ever know how much your words affected this elderly woman far away in New Zealand.

Read the New York Times obituary here.

And now, Goodbye Mary. May you rest in peace with your dearly beloved  Molly Malone Cook.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Home Again

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver, 1935 –

Well now a change in lifestyle for me.

I arrived home safely from my European adventure.  And what an adventure that was.  After almost 11 weeks I was happy to be back home and ready to begin the next phase in this life.

I have lived alone for 15 years since my Dashing Young Scotsman died and thought I would spend the rest of my life so.  I was happy with my family, friends and a little dog and then into this settled life came another Dashing but older man, to take me to pastures new.  He has a passion for music, for travel and as an architect, for beautiful buildings.   Of course, we plan to go back to Florence together in the New Year.

So lots of pluses to this new life.  But there are some major changes to get used to when living daily with another.  For so many years I made decisions, appointments and plans with no thought for another.  Now there are two of us to consider.  I think when living alone one does become rather selfish and so it’s very good to have to stop and think before I say “Yes” to an invitation.  The other person must be considered too.  I am learning here.

We are very involved in selling this current house (see the garden view into the beech forest as the header to the blog) and building another house.  Daily I am involved in decisions on the new house and it’s very exciting.

And I am so excited.  My sister in London has agreed to come for a visit in the New Year.  None of my family has ever been here so I shall enjoy showing her this beautiful country and introducing her to my friends and my special friend when she gets here.

So much to look forward to and so much to be grateful for.  Each day I note all the things for which I am grateful my health, my lifestyle, my friends, my family.

I have been absent from the blogosphere for a few weeks while I become adjusted to this new way of life, but now I am back.  I hope/expect to have more adventures in the future (and at present) that I should like to share with you.

“…and there was a new voice which you slowly
recognised as your own, that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,
determined to do the only thing you could do –
determined to save the only life you could save.”
Mary Oliver – The Journey

Florence Day 18

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver,  American poet
1935 –

Pig

One must stroke the pig’s nose to ensure one will return to Florence

This morning I had no internet access, nor could I send or receive text messages.  I felt totally alone in a foreign environment and thought about how we have all come to rely on technology to make our days run smoothly.  The internet is pretty patchy here and seems to work well for several hours and then like today it will go off.  So patience is called for.  But I am so glad when I am traveling alone that I have access to this technology.

File missing

Now this stay in Florence is being cut short and this is the last day, as tomorrow I shall catch a plane to London and my family there.

Sisters

I have enjoyed finding my way around this most beautiful city, learning a few words of the language and mostly managing to make myself understood.  But I shall miss jumping on the buses to get around.  The public transport system is amazing; I have never waited more than 10 minutes for a bus.  Taxis are a little different.  One cannot just hail a cab here as one does at home.  They have to be picked up at the taxi stands which are few and far between or alternatively ordered by phone.

Bus

So today was a day for packing and tidying up and getting ready to leave.

Courtyard

Courtyard

 Entrance hall

My friendly and kindly next door neighbours have ordered a cab to take me to the aeroporto domani.  I resorted to writing out my request for them.  I knew I could never make myself understood if I tried to say the words.

An interesting interlude followed as Guiliano told me that I wouldn’t need to order the cab until tomorrow.  I want it at 10.30 am so he said to come tomorrow to his house (next door) at 9 am to make the booking.  Then some time later he rang the doorbell and told me he had booked the cab in his name for tomorrow.  So I think, he is going to knock on my door when it gets here.  I do so love these interactions where neither party speaks the others language.  Somehow we manage to communicate.

Florence Day 3 2013 007

I went out for macchiato and brioche as usual.  I told the folk in the pasticceria that I was leaving tomorrow – they seemed to understand as we smiled and wished each other arrivederci.  I did buy an apricot turnover and a brioche to take away with me.  They were to be part of lunch or dinner.Lunch

Lunch today was a scratch meal using up what was left in the apartment.  Quite satisfying but not as good as some of the lunches I have eaten since I arrived here.  Oh well …

“I had surprised myself this year by
jumping in to reshape my life before life
stepped in to reshape it for me.”  Alice Steinbach

 

 

 

 

 

Dancing With Skeletons

“One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–”
Mary Oliver, The Journey.

When I decided that I did want to write I took a Creative Writing Course at the university here in Wellington.  Looking back all those years, I wonder how it was that I didn’t recognise that I had always been writing.  My many notebooks attested to this fact but yet, I didn’t think of myself as being a writer.

So to the Creative Writing Course.  One task we were given early in the course was to “Write about your skeletons”.  We were told we all had them and if we could put them onto paper it would be a good place to start.  We were required to write them down, not type them into the computer.  The tutor reiterated the “known fact”  (well accepted fact) that transferring the words from your mind, through your hand to the page gave them power.

Note – Research has shown that hand-writing stimulates a bunch of cells at the base of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS acts as a filter for everything your brain needs to process, giving more importance to the stuff that you’re actively focusing on at the moment—the physical act of writing brings it to the forefront.  Author Henriette Anne Klauser who wrote Write It Down, Make It Happen, says that “Writing triggers the RAS, which in turn sends a signal to the cerebral cortex: ‘Wake up! Pay attention! Don’t miss this detail!’

Skeleton

Free Clipart

For me at least, this skeleton thing was something that I didn’t want to write about.  And then the thought of reading my words  out loud to others in the group  (and yes this was a requisite that we read our pieces to the others) made my skin cringe and my fingers curl.  But guess what, in putting this down on paper it lost a lot of its power over me.  It wasn’t a huge skeleton just something that I omitted to do when I was much younger, but it had ‘haunted’ me ever since.

In writing this  I was required to analyse what the problem was, how I felt about it and also what I could have done differently in that situation.  Written down I saw it for what it was,  simply a blip in the long road I have travelled.

This task has stood me in good stead over the years when I have been honing my ‘skill’ as a writer.  I now write every day as we all know that we must practice and practice whatever we want to be good at.  Remember Beethoven, Einstein, Edison, Colonel Sanders, Clint Eastwood and the Wright Brothers all worked at their craft regularly to perfect it.

So I shall continue to write.  Whether for my eyes only or in the hope that others may appreciate what I have written.  And when the words flow freely as they sometimes do I shall recall these lines but I don’t know where they came from.  Can anybody help please. **

And now
As the water cascades and tumbles
over the rocks in it’s rush
down to join the river
so my thoughts tumble around my brain
looking for an outlet
or a safe place to stop.

** Since writing this blog I have discovered these lines written in amongst my attempts at writing poetry and so unless anyone can tell me otherwise, I shall recognise this as my own words.

Waterfall

Oh For An Original Thought

“All intelligent thoughts have already been thought;
what is necessary is only to try to think them again”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German Playwright, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist.  1749-1832

Sitting in front of a blank screen once again, I try to conjure up an original thought.  I read blogs from others and of course, get inspiration from them but an original thought of my own…..

I have read Val Erde’s post on what she plans to do with the rest of her life and that set me thinking.  In her poem The Summer Day Mary Oliver asks

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? “

Perhaps I could write a blog on that subject too.

Chris at Bridges Burning posted about the date November 22 and what it means to many of us.  She also introduced us to a book by Stephen King (one of my favourite authors) 22/11/63  11/22/63 (I have just had this error pointed out to me.  Thank you Sharon) and I have now reserved it from the library.  Reminded me of draft I started ages ago about where we I was on certain historic days during my long life.

Susan at Coming East wrote about what triggers memories.  I read this a couple of days ago and just this morning when opening a fresh container of milk I remember how my sister used to open the top for my father who was blind.  That took me back to the last time I saw him.  About 92, legally blind and living in his own apartment on his own.  What a great mentor and father he had been to me and my sisters throughout his life.

So..today…  Do you know Mary Oliver’s poetry?  One of my favourites is The Journey :

“One day you finally knew what you had to do,
and began, though the voices around you
kept shouting their bad advice–“

Read the rest of this poem here and the poem “The Summer Day” here.

So still without an original thought, or even an independent thought, I am bowing out of today’s post.

Waterfall

Dreamstime.com Free images

And now
As the water cascades and tumbles
over the rocks in it’s rush
down to join the river
so my thoughts tumble around my brain
looking for an outlet
or a safe place to stop