Friday, December 11, 2009

A poem and a photo for your day

Alas, friends, I have not had the time I'd like this week to devote to this blog. I have not tackled any of those big-hard-questions I spoke of last week. A few are turning over in my mind, but none have surfaced in the fullness of the limited time of the season. Perhaps next week.

So how about a poem today? Here is a wonderful gift sent to me by our friend Leslie Middleton, and fitting for the brisk days we are now getting.

The photo is another gift. I mentioned last week that in my prayer life I sometimes return in my imagination to particular ridge in the High Sierra. My friend David Link sent this photo of me on that ridge line, at dusk a couple of years back near May Lake in Yosemite.

Enjoy your Friday. Here's the poem...
Starlings in Winter
by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can't imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

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