Wow! I can't believe we're already to the fourth poem of The Mnemosyne Weekly! I'll never be bored standing in line again. I'll never be at a loss for words. I've got the perfect toast, the perfect advice, the perfect words of comfort poised on the tip of my tongue. And I am filled with beauty, joy, love, nature, art, wisdom, grace, and a little pathos too, thanks to Lee, Rilke, and Dickinson.
This week's poem, as you may have discerned from the photo, is by Mary Oliver. Most of you probably already know that Oliver was recently diagnosed with a serious illness, and her fans, friends, and the poetry community are rallying around her. A good friend of mine, Paula Todd King, suggested that, as a way of joining in this support, we should memorize a poem by Oliver this week. In full and heartfelt agreement, I asked Paula to select the poem. As well, I've started a list of poems suggestions, so please keep those titles coming. It stretches us all to memorize poems selected by others, especially poems we may not have chosen ourselves.
Also, please keep making comments in the sections under the postings. I love hearing what you think about the poems and what your experiences are of memorizing them. I'm keeping my own comments about the poems restricted to these sections, as well, so that we can approach the postings of the new poems with clean, fresh, beginner's minds each week. Here is last week's posting, if you want to leave comments about Rilke's "Sonnet I.3" from Sonnets to Orpheus: The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Three. As well, if you're new to the blog, you might want to look at the first Mnemosyne post to find out what this project is all about.
Here is your poem for the week. It comes from the collection called Blue Iris. As well, here is an interview Maria Shriver conducted with Mary Oliver for Oprah: http://www.oprah.com/entertainment/Maria-Shriver-Interviews-Poet-Mary-Oliver/2. Enjoy!
And, once again, thanks to everyone who is participating!
What if a hundred rose-breasted grosbeaks
blew in circles around your head? What if
the mockingbird came into the house with you and
became your advisor? What if
the bees filled your walls with honey and all
you needed to do was ask them and they would fill
the bowl? What if the brook slid downhill just
past your bedroom window so you could listen
to its slow prayers as you fell asleep? What if
the stars began to shout their names, or to run
this way and that way above the clouds? What if
you painted a picture of a tree, and the leaves
began to rustle, and a bird cheerful sang
from its painted branches? What if you suddenly saw
that the silver of water was brighter than the silver
of money? What if you finally saw
that the sunflowers, turning toward the sun all day
and every day -- who knows how, but they do it -- were
more precious, more meaningful than gold?