Friday, August 30, 2013

mary oliver's backyard

Here's another poem by Mary Oliver, that comes as an Afterword in her book Owls and Other Fantasies:

I had no time to haul out all
the dead stuff so it hung, limp
or dry, wherever the wind swung it

over or down or across.  All summer
it stayed that way, untrimmed, and
thickened.  The paths grew
damp and uncomfortable and mossy until
nobody could get through but a mouse or a

shadow.  Blackberries, ferns, leaves, litter
totally without direction management
supervision.  The birds loved it.

I like to say this poem out loud.  "haul out all":  the words move with difficulty, slowly and each word discreetly.  "shadow" slips into a spot on a new line/ new stanza.  "management supervision" is a mess of language/ meaning!

I have been painting woods that are on the edge of yards and gardens, images a little bit messy, in and out of light and shadow, and I hope suggestive of birds just out of view.

Edge of the woods

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