Mary Oliver, You Elude Me


Yesterday, after doing a few horse feet, I was hungry and tired and decided to eat a sandwich at The Drugstore Grill  in Brookneal. (Va.)

I’d had one of their rib-eye sandwiches on Saturday, at the wine festival, and it was so good I was eager for another.

Only, they were closed.

So I went to another restaurant in town, The Golden Skillet, to which I had never been.  I  wanted to sit inside and read the paper, but I was out of quarters for the paper machine, so I picked up an Ophra Magazine off the little table just inside the door to read instead.

It was the April edition and it was Ophra’s  poetry edition, and Mary Oliver, the very famous nature poet, had  granted Maria Shriver an interview.

Mary Oliver rarely does interviews.

I was so inspired by Mary and her words that I immediately came home and searched for the one book of her poetry that I own thanks to my days at Randolf Macon Women’s College.

We had studied Mary at length and she was my favorite poet by far that year.

But, like any other disorganized farm-business woman, I, of course, could not find that very thing that I was looking for.

I did, however, find my tax forms, receipts, etc . from 2010 that I had stashed and lost and actually had to file an extension because of it.

And I found some lost hoof boots, a box of soap, $20 in change, three pillows, a book on Reiki and another book by Ray Bradbury about writing, and even found some music CD’s I thought I accidentally given to  Good Will.

I did not, however, find Mary Olivers book of poetry.

So I had to look up her poetry on line, just to joggle my memory of some of the beautiful things she’s written.

In her interview she told Maria about the walks she takes and how she always carries a notebook with her because thoughts are so fleeting.

My problem is that I can’t even remember to take the notebook with me.

I’ve hen-scratched just about every blank spot on every piece of paper in this whole house, but finding the particular hen scratch I want, when I want it, is just about impossible.  Whoever invented notebooks was a genius.  Of course, I cannot figure out a way to permanently attach a pen with ink in it to the notebook and writing with mud or blood has never worked out well for me.

Anyway, I plan to keep looking for Mary Oliver’s book of poems, and if you get the chance you should definitely buy the April Poetry Edition of O Magazine.  The whole thing is quite an inspiration, and not just for writers, but for anyone who has ever held a dream close to their heart.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

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2 thoughts on “Mary Oliver, You Elude Me

  1. Pingback: Wild Geese | Off the Mark and Roaming

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