Friday, June 07, 2024

Poetry Friday: "Forty Years" by Mary Oliver

        Photo courtesy of Sponchia at Pixabay. 

The last two weeks I shared poems that were simple, lovely, and simply lovely as they touched on the intricacies of relationships. This week, another in that vein: this one's about the poet's relationship with language. 

Forty Years
by Mary Oliver

for forty years
the sheets of white paper have
passed under my hands and I have tried
    to improve their peaceful

emptiness putting down
little curls little shafts
of letters words
    little flames leaping

not one page
was less to me than fascinating

(Read the whole thing here, at the Poetry Foundation.) 


Photo courtesy of Sponchia at Pixabay


TraceyKJ said...

Thank you for sharing Mary Oliver’s poem, Karen. I love her line, “I am stopped as the world comes back wet and beautiful,” as I imagine her swishing wet ink across her white page. :)

Alan j Wright said...

As soon as I read the words, 'Mary Oliver' attached to your post, I knew I had to come see for myself. Karen. What a glorious celebration of composing the poet delivers. A briliant example of Ars Poetica. Thanks for this. Just love the gentle images that rise up upon reading these words.

Rose Cappelli said...

Mary Oliver never disappoints, does she? Thank you for sharing this lovely poem.

Karen Edmisten said...

Tracey, Alan, and Rose, so happy to share this beauty with you. :) Thanks for stopping by for a few moments with the incomparable Oliver.

Linda Mitchell said...

All I need to feel calmer is to know there's a Mary Oliver poem nearby to read. This is truly lovely and in it's lovely way, so true. How does she do it? None of the words are big or complicated and yet there is magic.

Denise Krebs said...

Oh, yes, the wonderful Mary Oliver. The poems you are sharing are so lovely about relationships, and this one about her relationship with language is a great twist. The images in "Forty Years" is beautiful-- "From day to day from one / golden page to another"

laurasalas said...

"little flames leaping"--and I just came from Irene's post/poem about fireweed :>) Thanks for this wonderful Oliver poem!

Karen Edmisten said...

Linda, what a wonderful way to put it — I can relate to feeling calmer at the mere thought of Oliver, and yes to the magic.

Denise, golden indeed!

Laura, Irene's post and art were so lovely. I was reminded of when I lived in Alaska as a kid.