Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | September 24, 2011

Poppies / Mary Oliver

A month ago I found this poem in the program of A Celebration of Life of E. – father, husband, son, brother, friend, teacher – and copied it down here. I knew there was a reason I didn’t hit Publish that day but rather saved it, yet at the time I didn’t know what that reason was. Now I do.   “- and what are you going to do—what can you do / about it—deep, blue night?” – Mary Oliver


The poppies send up their

orange flares; swaying

in the wind, their congregations

are a levitation


of bright dust, of thin

and lacy leaves.

There isn’t a place

in this world that doesn’t


sooner or later drown

in the indigos of darkness,

but now, for a while,

the roughage


shines like a miracle

as it floats above everything

with its yellow hair.

Of course nothing stops the cold,


black, curved blade

from hooking forward—

of course

loss is the great lesson.


But I also say this: that light

is an invitation

to happiness,

and that happiness,


when it’s done right,

is a kind of holiness,

palpable and redemptive.

Inside the bright fields,


touched by their rough and spongy gold,

I am washed and washed

in the river

of earthly delight—


and what are you going to do—

what can you do

about it—

deep, blue night?

first poppy


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