The cardinal pair which is faithful to choose nesting sites in our garden is a consistent source of delight for me. Their song draws me from my own nest with pillow and lamp, put down my book, walk barefoot on the cool wet stones of today’s path. I am called to pay attention, to have my heart pierced as the sun rises, to love this world and to cherish this life, to exclaim of the dearness given to me new every day. I love Mary Oliver’s poem that prompts these words for me.
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
~ Mary Oliver, “Peonies” from New And Selected Poems
Thank you for reading and commenting on Stones and Feathers! I enjoy sharing these images and thoughts with you, and am looking forward to “blessing the space between us” in 2013. (Phrase from the title of John O’Donahue’s book, which I hope you will include in your reading list this year)
A writing exercise recently posted in my online writing group was named the Adjective Project. Actually, it should have been called The Missing Adjective Project because the goal was to write a descriptive poem or story using few nor no adjectives. It happened to coincide with another morning at which my kitchen window revealed a bountiful display of moonflowers. Here is the missing adjectives poem. I might have done without the rest of the words, since a picture can be worth a thousand of them…
I greet morning as I see moonflowers blooming at dawn.
When I am writing, I roll words around in my mind like I am tasting something. Reading a word, speaking a word,hearing a word, or writing a word may be as breathtaking as holding a lovely piece of glass to the light. As a mother, I delighted in a baby’s first word. The first word a child reads for himself brings a sense of accomplishment for him and encouragement from others. Of course, we find meaning as we begin to string words together in thoughts and sentences, and the words used in the craft of story telling are amazing tools, but a single word when considered alone can be a source of amazement.
My husband, Joe, and I had the same English teacher in high school. Mr. Everett loved the word murmur . A musical friend’s favorite word is alleluia. I love the words dappled and candlelight. Author and world traveler Francis Mayes says that two of her favorite words are linked together: “departure” and “time”. Poet Molly Peacock says she first fell in love with the word joy because it had a circle inside!
I think I fell in love with poetry because I love tasting the words and looking at them through the light.
I think Gerard Manley Hopkins may have felt that way, too.
Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spáre, strange;
Whatever is fickle, frecklèd (who knows how?)
With swíft, slów; sweet, sóur; adázzle, dím;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is pást change: