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  • Writer's picturejaneboutwell

Painting Poems

I asked for a book of Mary Oliver Poems for Christmas and when I read her poem entitled Snow Geese I knew that I loved it. Over time I realized that it was teaching my heart... like a seed planted inside me that was growing ideas. Somehow the poem has been tied to processing grief for me... and the beauty and bravery of choosing love and delight as the most serious things despite the incredible vulnerability of it.

Snow Geese by Mary Oliver

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last! What a task to ask of anything, or anyone, yet it is ours, and not by the century or the year, but by the hours. One fall day I heard above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was a flock of snow geese, winging it faster than the ones we usually see, and, being the color of snow, catching the sun so they were, in part at least, golden. I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us as with a match, which is lit, and bright, but does not hurt in the common way, but delightfully, as if delight were the most serious thing you ever felt. The geese flew on, I have never seen them again. Maybe I will, someday, somewhere. Maybe I won't. It doesn't matter. What matters is that, when I saw them, I saw them as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

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