Poetry #1: Lines Written In The Days Of Growing Darkness
Now and then, I read poetry and love poetry. One of the reasons I’ve turned to poetry is because poetry isn’t necessarily meant to...
Now and then, I read poetry and love poetry. One of the reasons I’ve turned to poetry is because poetry isn’t necessarily meant to tell the whole story. Poetry is really interested in stopping in small moments and telling the story of that moment. And that can be really helpful when you’re stuck in a story where you can’t see the outcome, or you’re stuck in a story of pain and you’re not sure how it’s gonna work out, to turn to poetry that isn’t trying to say, “Oh, everything will be alright eventually,” but it is helping you to cast your eye on small moments that can give you some perseverance and that can help you grow through what you go through.
"Lines Written In The Days Of Growing Darkness" by Mary Oliver:
“Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
who would cry out
to the petals on the ground
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married
to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do
if the love one claims to have for the world
So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,
though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.”
I think this is a poem about all that life brings. "Every year we have been witness to it: how the world descends into a rich mash, in oder that it may resume." Maybe it's not a very comforting poem because Mary Oliver asks you to embrace these things and keep going on if the love you claim to have for the world is true. But she doesn't ask you to be happy about it because she knows it's not easy, she just simply says "so let us go on, cheerfully enough". And I think it brings being courageous, and take comfort in the midst of the changing dynamics of a day or a month or a year or a season — it brings all of that into some kind of embrace of belonging. That "how the vivacity of what was is married to the vitality of what will be".
When you begin to make inquiries of the poem, you suddenly find all of these restless things at the heart of the poem, things that can’t be contained. Why are the ponds cold and black, for instance? And the sun swinging east. You might wonder what does it mean that the sweets of the year be doomed? And when you find all of these mysteries, these slightly restless, sometimes, perhaps, even mildly menacing factors at the heart of this, it can make you pay attention to the dynamics of these similar things in your own life, and think, “They too have a place. Embrace them.” and to find yourself being drawn back into the natural world in the middle of all these things that are utterly uncontainable.
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