Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FreeVerse: Snow Geese (Oliver)

Reason number 1001 why I like taking yoga classes: my instructor reads good poetry, unironically, to us. Today when she read this, I got goosebumps. Also, it was cold in the room... but seriously, the imagery is lovely and the sentiment is something I am working hard to take to heart.

Also, and I don't know whether this is an embarrassing thing to admit or not, but I believe Mary Oliver is new to me. I get the impression that a lot of people know who she is and have discovered her before. She's new to me but this won't be the last poem you see by her here, I suspect.

Today's poem I have snagged from Famous Poets and Poems. Thanks to Cara at Ooh... Books! for hosting FreeVerse!

Snow Geese
by Mary Oliver

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
sometimes
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us
as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,
but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.
The geese
flew on,
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

9 comments:

Kelly said...

I love Mary Oliver and I love this poem!!

Jenners said...

I haven't heard of this poet but I love this poem!! I'm going to look for more of her poems! Thank you!!!

Faith said...

Oooh I love love love Mary Oliver.

kiirstin said...

Kelly - I've read this poem several times over again today and I think I like it more, if that's possible.

Jenners - Glad to know I wasn't the only one!

Faith - I'm checking to see if my library has any Mary Oliver to borrow. Any recommendations?

Jeanne said...

I love the line
so they were, in part at least, golden
It's so pretty!

kiirstin said...

Isn't it, though? The imagery is just crystal clear for me in this one.

Nymeth said...

I love that. I really ought to read the two Mary Oliver books I own!

kiirstin said...

Nymeth - Hmm... there *is* a poetry challenge... two books by the same poet might count for an expert badge... ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this- I teach also (yoga that is :). And always read something, almost always Mary Oliver. She's a wise woman.