Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Sunday Morning Special with Mary Oliver

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Dear Bacon Friends – I can’t run the interview planned for this morning due to a minor technical problem, but I’m happy to share a couple of beautiful poems from Mary Oliver’s collection A Thousand Mornings. These poems ask (me) the right questions… maybe you too…

THE GARDENER

by Mary Oliver

Have I lived enough?

Have I loved enough?

Have I considered Right Action enough, have I

come to any conclusion?

Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?

Have I endured loneliness with grace?

 

I say this, or perhaps I’m just thinking it.

Actually, I probably think too much.

 

Then I step out into the garden,

where the gardener, who is said to be a simple man,

is tending his children, the roses.

 

*      *      *

What do I tend? What do you?

*      *      *

 

 

 

*      *      *

GREEN, GREEN IS MY SISTER’S HOUSE

by Mary Oliver

Don’t you dare climb that tree

or even try, they said, or you will be

sent away to the hospital of the

very foolish, if not the other one.

And I suppose, considering my age,

it was fair advice.

 

But the tree is a sister to me, she

lives alone in a green cottage

high in the air and I know what

would happen, she’d clap her green hands,

she’d shake her green hair, she’d

welcome me. Truly

 

I try to be good but sometimes

a person just has to break out and

act like the wild and springy thing

one used to be. It’s impossible not

to remember wild and want it back. So

 

if someday you can’t find me you might

look into that tree or – of course

it’s possible – under it.

 

*      *      *

Would I be sitting under the tree, content? Or – having fallen – would I lie broken?

Or would you find me dead and buried under it?

Perhaps I did not return to the tree at all and instead you might find me somewhere else…

If someday I can’t find you, where might I look?

*      *      *

 

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