Such Singing in the Wild Branches by Mary Oliver

Wood Thrush

Such Singing in the Wild Branches by Mary Oliver

It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky––all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

for more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

by Mary Oliver. “Such Singing In The Wild Branches” is  from Owls and Other Fantasies.

Other books by Mary Oliver

  • 1963 No Voyage, and Other Poems (Dent (New York, NY), expanded edition, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1965.
  • 1972 The River Styx, Ohio, and Other Poems Harcourt (New York, NY)
  • 1978 The Night Traveler Bits Press
  • 1978 Sleeping in the Forest Ohio University (a 12-page chapbook, p. 49–60 in The Ohio Review—Vol. 19, No. 1 [Winter 1978])
  • 1979 Twelve Moons Little, Brown (Boston, MA)
  • 1983 American Primitive Little, Brown (Boston, MA)
  • 1986 Dream Work Atlantic Monthly Press (Boston, MA)
  • 1987 Provincetown Appletree Alley, limited edition with woodcuts by Barnard Taylor
  • 1990 House of Light Beacon Press (Boston, MA)
  • 1992 New and Selected Poems [volume one] Beacon Press (Boston, MA),
  • 1994 White Pine: Poems and Prose Poems Harcourt (San Diego, CA)
  • 1995 Blue Pastures Harcourt (New York, NY)
  • 1997 West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA)
  • 1999 Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA)
  • 2000 The Leaf and the Cloud Da Capo (Cambridge, MA), (prose poem)
  • 2002 What Do We Know Da Capo (Cambridge, MA)
  • 2003 Owls and Other Fantasies: poems and essays Beacon (Boston, MA)
  • 2004 Why I Wake Early: New Poems Beacon (Boston, MA)
  • 2004 Blue Iris: Poems and Essays Beacon (Boston, MA)
  • 2004 Wild geese: selected poems, Bloodaxe,
  • 2005 New and Selected Poems, volume two Beacon (Boston, MA)
  • 2005 At Blackwater Pond: Mary Oliver Reads Mary Oliver (audio cd)
  • 2006 Thirst: Poems (Boston, MA)
  • 2007 Our World with photographs by Molly Malone Cook, Beacon (Boston, MA)
  • 2008 The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays, Beacon Press,
  • 2008 Red Bird Beacon (Boston, MA)
  • 2009 Evidence Beacon (Boston, MA)
  • 2010 Swan: Poems and Prose Poems (Boston, MA)
  • 2012 A Thousand Mornings Penguin (New York, NY)
  • 2013 “Dog Songs” Penguin Press (New York, NY)

 

 

 

Silly Book Writing Poem by Mwah

book imageWritten by Terri Crosby for In Care of Relationships

I’m writing a book, book, book.
In time, you’ll be able to take a look, look, look.
Meanwhile, I flow, flow, flow.
Who knows how this will go, go, go!

Until then, I write, write, write,
Like a pen-holding sprite, sprite, sprite
Perhaps I might, might, might
Produce something to excite, excite, excite!

(Happy Yikes!)

In any case, I promise you the book will be better than this silly poem!!!

I just wanted you to know that I am indeed writing and have been speaking to a publisher — just had an inspiring follow-up conversation with her yesterday.  She gave me some crowd-funding ideas for publishing and I set a writing schedule for myself (although quite a challenge during the Holidays!!)

I’m really excited about these beginning steps.  The best thing for me so far, is the process of sitting down to write.  Every day is a blank canvas even though I wrote yesterday, and it’s a good thing I welcome a page with nothing on it.  I’m appreciative of that!

In writing, “finding one’s voice” and one’s style is also a beautiful thing.  As I imagine and write “like me” (not another person’s voice or ideas about what a relationship self-help book should be) the writing feels natural and satisfying and hopefully it will feel that way to you, too.

This is going to be a great year!  I’ll keep you posted.

 ******************

For more information about In Care of Relationships, click here.

About Terri Crosby — I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Eric, my partner of 15 years, two cats and a dog, and as many flowers and vegetables as I can plant.  I love really good food!

The Unmistakeable Wisdom of Mary Oliver

mary oliver and dogToday’s message is short and sweet.  After all, there isn’t much to say after a Mary Oliver poem, but plenty to contemplate.  This poem is for anyone going through life changes, big or small.

You need tools for change?  Or tools for anything?  Or comforting words?  Turn to Mary Oliver.  She is one of the wisest women I know.

Mary Oliver writes for the soul in us.  She writes prose.  She writes poetry.  She even writes about how to write.  She’s everything, all in one.

She writes the best bedtime stories.  I have her on my nightstand.  In thirty seconds, or a minute or two or three, I read a poem of hers, and I am off to a blissful slumber.  In those moments, my day fades, no matter what it has been.

Mary Oliver lifts me up. Calms me down.  Her words make me smile.  Her poetry moves me into my heart if I have forgotten for a moment to be there.

From West Wind (Part 2)

You are young. So you know everything. You leap
into the boat and begin rowing. But listen to me.
Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without
any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.
Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and
your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to
me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent
penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a
dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile
away and still out of sight, the churn of the water
as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the
sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable
pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls
plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life
toward it.

~ Mary Oliver ~

 

BECKONING CREATIVITY

Ever find yourself yearning for a shot of creativity when you need most it, not when it needs you?

Creativity

Oh, wherefore art thou my pen, my brush, my song of songs?

C”mon creativity, where did you go?  Where is the “on demand” feature?

And, despite the pleading and the begging, your creativity is apparently off to see the wizard.

OH, WE DO LOVE CREATIVITY!

There is a yummy feeling that comes with the energy of inspiration flowing through us.   It is the energy of life moving through our veins, and we know it.  There is nothing like it.  And yes, it keeps us young and happy.

In a state of bliss, all seems to go well  — effortlessly!  The big blue sky of creativity opens up, shining happy streaks of sunny love color all over life and we’re sparkling with ideas.

WEST ASHEVILLE COMMUNITY CHOIR

Recently, I went to hear the West Asheville Community Choir.  On that particular day, I was truly muddling along, ready to be uplifted by song.   I had never heard of this choir, but I can tell you that when they sang, the cells in my mind and body woke up.  In less than 30 seconds after they began to sing, I was lifted into “oh, now THAT’S better….”   and within 45 seconds was transported straight to happy.  After a whole minute, I was floating over the moon and the floating lasted for the rest of the hour.

Time disappeared.  I was in a state of wonder.  The sounds were beautiful.  I found myself wanting to stand up and shout, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”  It was also meditative.  Gorgeous. Intricate.  Simple.  Moving to my heart.

THE FLOWER OF CREATIVITY

Moonflower Opening -- photo courtesy of Lois Yeager

The 50 member choir sang traditional a cappella songs, from South Africa, the Balkans, Caucus Georgia, as well as American Shape-Note and Gospel songs. Suzannah Park and Nathan Morrison, the directors, also sang a duet together.  I don’t even remember the song really, not because the song was not memorable, but because the emotional experience of hearing them sing together took center stage.

I vividly remember the feeling of the song.  It was not your average listening experience, that’s for sure.  I don’t even know what happened to me when they sang, but I know their expression changed me somehow.  When Suzannah and Nathan sang it seemed as if the entire audience expanded to make room in their hearts for whatever it was the two were offering.  The audience opened.  I opened.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………….!!!  Now that’s much better!

THE JOY FACTOR

I don’t know the best way to get anyone’s creative juices flowing, but it sure helps to “get to happy.”  What gives you a boatload of joy?  Do more of that.

Suzannah and Nathan are downright darling.  They love each other and make no bones about it, but it’s not syrupy and it’s not an act.  They have known each other since they were 14 years old.  Suzannah, when she is talking, but especially when she’s singing, is like a 1,000 watt light bulb.  You can’t help but catch the rays of her bright love.  She is unabashedly happy when she sings, directs, talks about her husband or how much she loves the choir.  She includes you in her energy field, and yes, it’s HUGE, and pretty soon you are transported to wherever she is singing from if you let yourself go there.

And I did.

And I’m glad.

As of this writing, the experience was 48 hours ago and I’m still flyin’.  Joy is very good medicine.

IS CREATIVITY YOUR LONG LOST FRIEND?

Artist: MacKenzie Joy Crosby

Missing your creativity?  Find what makes you laugh.  Find the young kid in you.  If your pets are funny and help you into a good mood with no effort, spend a little time with them.

Play a little.  Jump up and down, dive into a pile of leaves, roll down a hill.  Dance.  Sing.  Play with your kids or grand kids.  You’ll feel better when your life-giving juices begin to flow.  Being able to play —  being able to get into a playful mood at will — is one of the best ways to deliberately create joy.  When you have joy, finding the creativity button is easy.

Or, hey — go listen to the West Asheville Community Choir.  Or the music of Suzannah or Nathan.  Bon Jovi.  k.d. lang. The New York Philharmonic.  Leonard Cohen.  The Beatles.  Diana Krall.

Do whatever opens the floodgates for YOU, darling, because that makes the world a better place, immediately and forever.

SING OUT, PEOPLE!

It seems to me that most of the world’s problems could be solved by singing.

Try singing an argument

It’s hard to sing and fight, sing and be angry, or sing and be in a bad mood for long.

Have you ever tried to sing an argument?

No?

OK, imagine doing it.

My point exactly… See  what I mean?  You can’t stay mad for long.

It could work.  World peace could be closer than you think.

If you have a story about how the simple act of singing works wonders for you and your creativity, I’d LOVE to hear it.

Or when do you find yourself in your highest creative state?  How do you get there?  Do tell!

Note:  Moonflower Photo courtesy of Lois Yeager.  For more information on artist MacKenzie Joy Crosby go here.