Tag Archives: poem

A Poem that Resonated

Read this poem in the NYTimes this morning, and it resonated.

’N’em

JERICHO BROWN

They said to say goodnight

And not goodbye, unplugged

The TV when it rained. They hid

Money in mattresses

So to sleep on decision.

Some of their children

Were not their children. Some

Of their parents had no birthdates.

They could sweat a cold out

Of you. They’d wake without

An alarm telling them to.

Even the short ones reached

Certain shelves. Even the skinny

Cooked animals too quick

To catch. And I don’t care

How ugly one of them arrived,

That one got married

To somebody fine. They fed

Families with change and wiped

Their kitchens clean.

Then another century came.

People like me forgot their names.

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May your new year be filled with beauty and wonder

I thank Mary Oliver for the beauty and wisdom that she shares through her poetry; may we all attend to the beauty that surrounds and is within.  This poem is from her poetry collection:  What Do We Know.

Gratitude

by Mary Oliver

What did you notice?

The dew snail;
the low-flying sparrow;
the bat, on the wind, in the dark;
big-chested geese, in the V of sleekest performance;
the soft toad, patient in the hot sand;
the sweet-hungry ants;
the uproar of mice in the empty house;
the tin music of the cricket’s body;
the blouse of the goldenrod.

What did you hear?

The thrush greeting the morning;
the little bluebirds in their hot box;
the salty talk of the wren,
then the deep cup of the hour of silence.

What did you admire?

The oaks, letting down their dark and hairy fruit;
the carrot, rising in its elongated waist;
the onion, sheet after sheet, curved inward to the
pale green wand;
at the end of summer the brassy dust, the almost liquid
beauty of the flowers;
then the ferns, scrawned black by the frost.

What astonished you?

The swallows making their dip and turn over the water.

What would you like to see again?

My dog: her energy and exuberance, her willingness,
her language beyond all nimbleness of tongue, her
recklessness, her loyalty, her sweetness, her
sturdy legs, her curled black lip, her snap.

What was most tender?

Queen Anne’s lace, with its parsnip root;
the everlasting in its bonnets of wool;
the kinks and turns of the tupelo’s body;
the tall, blank banks of sand;
the clam, clamped down.

What was most wonderful?

The sea, and its wide shoulders;
the sea and its triangles;
the sea lying back on its long athlete’s spine.

What did you think was happening?

The green breast of the hummingbird;
the eye of the pond;
the wet face of the lily;
the bright, puckered knee of the broken oak;
the red tulip of the fox’s mouth;
the up-swing, the down-pour, the frayed sleeve
of the first snow—

so the gods shake us from our sleep.