Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Gruff is a part of Mary Oliver's tone in her recent poem, "Blueberries."


I’m living in a warm place now, where
you can purchase fresh blueberries all
year long. Labor free. From various
countries in South America. They’re
as sweet as any, and compared with the
berries I used to pick in the fields
outside Provincetown, they’re
enormous. But berries are berries. They
don’t speak any language I can’t
understand. Neither do I find ticks or
small spiders crawling among them. So,
generally speaking, I’m very satisfied.

There are limits, however. What they
don’t have is the field. The field they
belonged to and through the years I
began to feel I belonged to. Well,
there’s life, and then there’s later.
Maybe it’s myself that I miss. The
field, and the sparrow singing at the
edge of the woods. And the doe that one
morning came upon me unaware, all
tense and gorgeous. She stamped her hoof
as you would to any intruder. Then gave
me a long look, as if to say, Okay, you
stay in your patch, I’ll stay in mine.
Which is what we did. Try packing that
up, South America.

- Mary Oliver

(this poem appear in the recent issue of Orion.)
I just returned from visiting my getting-old mother in Florida, and last month M and I were in Cape Cod.  Florida is much different than Cape Cod.  Mary Oliver probably did not want to move south, away from Cape Cod.  But getting old trumps what we want, often.  We all wish her well in having to be away from where she lived for so long as a younger woman.