Mary and Rumi walking together
January 18, 2019
The great poet Mary Oliver died today. An article I read about her said she read Rumi every day. This poem by Rumi reflects a similar affinity with nature, infusing it with a spirit far vaster, wiser, and more eternal than our everyday minds can comprehend. I imagine they are walking together now in the Great Beyond.
THE SOURCE OF JOY
by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
No one know what makes the soul wake
up so happy! Maybe a dawn breeze has
blown the veil from the face of God.
A thousand new moons appear. Roses
open laughing. Hearts become perfect
rubies like those from Badakshan. The
body turns entirely spirit. Leaves
become branches in this wind. Why is
it now so easy to surrender, even for
those who already surrendered? There’s no
answer to any of this. No one knows
the source of joy. A poet breathes
into a reed flute, and the tip of
every hair makes music. Shams sails
down clods of dirt from the roof, and
we take jobs as doorkeepers for him.
And here the mystical Mary Oliver:
As deep as I ever went into the forest I came upon an old stone bench, very, very old, and around it a clearing, and beyond that trees taller and older than I had ever seen. Such
silence! It really wasn’t so far from a town, but it seemed all the clocks in the world had stopped counting. So it was hard to suppose the usual rules applied.
Sometimes there’s only a hint, a possibility. What’s magical, sometimes, has deeper roots than reason. I hope everyone knows that.
I sat on the bench, waiting for something. An angel, perhaps. Or dancers with the legs of goats.
No, I didn’t see either. But only, I think, because I didn’t stay long enough.
~ from “Blue Horses: Poems” by Mary Oliver
There was a very windy storm here in Northern California last night. The trees were dancing wildly, and one, shaking with spirit, collapsed on the roof of my mother’s house. This same night my father’s boat with all his possessions became untethered and nearly capsized on the far shore. Sometimes we need to break free of our binds and let the winds and sea take us for a ride. Wishing Mary Oliver a safe journey on her next adventure. RIP