I was taking a news hiatus last week when a friend’s email came, telling me that my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, had died. What an important voice to be extinguished!
The first time I ever heard a poem by Mary Oliver was 1993 in a spiritual study group I was in, when one of the women shared the poem Wild Geese aloud. My dear brother Michael was very ill at the time, and hearing these lines –
“Tell me your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile, the world goes on…”
…struck me right in my heart. When someone you love is dying, it can feel as if the world stops turning, or that it should stop turning. But, as the poet goes on to say, with infinite gentleness and wisdom,
“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...