Sunday, March 21, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 03/20/10: Lightness of Being, Orofino Dreams, Soul of Poetry

1. It's that move from stanza one to stanza two, from the light butterflies drinking from the shallow puddles, then floating away into the fields, to "sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy" that startles me with delight in Mary Oliver's poem "Spring Azures" and the poem goes on to explore lightness of being. Possibly we find a lighter way of being in the life of the imagination. Oliver says Blake did.

2. I lightened up my being this morning by pretending I was a motorcyclist and by pretending I was worthy, not to mention capable, of competing in the Orofino Endurocross. The lightness of the absurdity of this fiction felt so good that I decided to push it into the surreal and imagined my mother becoming an Orofino Eudruocross competitor. I wonder if this kind of wacky diversion from grading papers was what Mary Oliver had in mind when she thought about the imagination and lightness of being in "Spring Azures".....

3. I graded papers and read poems by students all day. I am proud of my ENG 106 students. They surrendered themselves to poetry. Many, if not all, fell in love with poems. That's my chief goal in teaching this course. I want students to experience the soul of poetry. I think they did. I'm happy.

Spring Azures

In spring the blue azures bow again
at the edges of shallow puddles
to drink the black rain water.
Then they rise and float away into the fields.

Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy,
and all the tricks my body knows —
the opposable thumbs, the kneecaps,
and the mind clicking and clicking —

don't seem enough to carry me through this world
and I think: how I would like

to have wings —
blue ones —
ribbons of flame.

How I would like to open them, and rise
from the black rain water.

And then I think of Blake, in the dirt and sweat of London — a boy staring through the window, when God came
fluttering up.

Of course, he screamed,
seeing the bobbin of God's blue body
leaning on the sill,
and the thousand-faceted eyes.

Well, who knows.
who knows what hung, fluttering, at the window
between him and the darkness.

Anyway, Blake the hosier's son stood up
and turned away from the sooty sill and the dark city —
turned away forever
from the factories, the personal strivings,

to a life of the imagination.

--Mary Oliver

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