Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | September 15, 2012

a repost: Poppies, by Mary Oliver

A repost. Because.

Today has been one year. Since the night that my world started to shift. (In a good way this time.)

Last September, I attended a spate of wakes, funerals, memorials. The first was for E. – a young man taken far too young by the same cancer that killed my husband. The second was for the late great lady M. – mother of my erstwhile sweetheart S.  We had not seen each other in 33 years. Inexplicably, unexpectedly,  out of a clear blue sky,  we fell in love, nearly overnight.

It has been a year of love and laughter, questioning and studying, observing and abiding. Hundreds of hours spent on long distance phone calls and thousands of ridiculous texts – far too much typing & Skyping.

And now, S. is here with me, and we’re a couple, learning and growing and compromising, with more to be revealed. I know that “there isn’t a place/ in this world that doesn’t/ sooner or later drown/ in the indigos of darkness.”

But. In the meantime: “Happiness/ when it’s done right/ is a kind of holiness/palpable and redemptive.”

And  “I am washed and washed/ in the river/ of earthly delight.”

[from September 2011: A month ago I found this poem in the lovely 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?”]

Poppies

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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Responses

  1. Love this poem, Car.

    Like


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