I was heartbroken when Mary Oliver died though I loved the outpouring of remembrances, the chance to read favorite lines and poems from people on the twitter.
The best thing I read was a tweet referencing one of her most famous lines: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
I can’t find the tweet right now but to paraphrase: Oliver chose to spend HER life wandering in the woods. Let’s remember that when some use that line to chase accomplishment and achievement for a sense of worthiness.
That line–or rather that question–is a call to presence, to pay attention, to be exactly where you are, which means open to the threads of intuition and inspiration and willing to follow them.That’s creative power right there. Every one of us has that creative power. Every. One.
It’s our superpower.
It’s our birthright.
It’s the seat of our vitality.
I read that a critic once faulted her work, calling it unimportant, tame, writing something like, “no animals were harmed in the process of writing Oliver’s poetry.” What a fucked up thing to say. So belittling. I’d put Mary Oliver’s ability to notice, to use her own box full of darkness as a gift, up against anything else in the world.
I don’t know a lot about poetry only that sometimes I feel called to write it and that certain poems hit me in the center of my body like the hook of a line cast directly from the land of truth.
One of my favorites:
Tell me, what does it look like for you to stride ‘deeper and deeper into the world’?