Author Archives: virtualartistaltar

all the singing

Standard

Curiosity 2012 by Drea

https://dreajensengallery.pixels.com/featured/curiosity-2012-drea-jensen.html

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

White-Eyes by Mary Oliver

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
    but he’s restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.

So, it’s over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he’s done all he can.

I don’t know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—

which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—

thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.

 

the right place

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way by Mary Oliver

If you’re John Muir you want trees to
live among. If you’re Emily, a garden
will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.
When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

Anything that touches.
God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
entirely.
Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen. 

In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.
All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.
To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.
For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!
Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.
The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

.

the world offers itself

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

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.

.

patience in abundance

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Love Sorrow by Mary Oliver

Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must
take care of what has been
given. Brush her hair, help her
into her little coat, hold her hand,
especially when crossing a street. For, think,

what if you should lose her? Then you would be
sorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessness
would be yours. Take care, touch
her forehead that she feel herself not so

utterly alone. And smile, that she does not
altogether forget the world before the lesson.
Have patience in abundance. And do not
ever lie or ever leave her even for a moment

by herself, which is to say, possibly, again,
abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult,
sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child.
And amazing things can happen. And you may see,

as the two of you go
walking together in the morning light, how
little by little she relaxes; she looks about her;
she begins to grow.

.

most tender

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Invitation by Mary Oliver

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

.

pretty shell

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

The Measure by Mary Oliver

I stopped the car and ran back and across the road
and picked up the box turtle, who only
hissed and withdrew herself into her pretty shell.
Well, goodness, it was early in the morning, not too much 
    traffic.
Rather an adventure than a risk, and anyway
who would give aid to such a shy citizen?
Who wouldn't complete the journey for it, taking it of course
in the direction of its desire: a pinewoods
where, as I learned, the blueberries ripen early.
Probably she had thought, in the middle of the night —
    Ah, it's time.
Sometimes I think our own lives are watched over like that.
Out of the mystery of the hours and the days
Something says-Let's give this one a little trial.
Let's say, put a turtle in the road she's traveling on, and
    in a hurry.
Let's see how her life is measuring up, that lucky girl.
So much happiness, so much good fortune. Ah, it's time.

.

die and be born

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Crows by Mary Oliver

From a single grain they have multiplied.
When you look in the eyes of one
you have seen them all.

At the edges of highways
they pick at limp things.
They are anything but refined.

Or they fly out over the corn
like pellets of black fire,
like overlords.

(Crow is crow, you say.
What else is there to say?
Drive down any road,

take a train or an airplane
across the world, leave
your old life behind,

die and be born again—
wherever you arrive
they’ll be there first,

glossy and rowdy
and indistinguishable.
The deep muscle of the world.

rife and wild

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

The Ponds
by Mary Oliver

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them —

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

directly to your soul

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

West Wind 2
by Mary Oliver

You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing. But, listen to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me. Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and your heart’s little intelligence, and listen to me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks — when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming—then row, row for your life toward it.

the most tender

Standard

Drea Art
dreajensengallery.pixels.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Invitation by Mary Oliver

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.