Mary Oliver has died. What a gift she brought to the world.
“Things take the time they take.
How many roads did St. Augustine follow before he became St. Augustine?”
Beyond the beach where I planted a dream - Just to the south - There is a special place, quite beautiful The place Stevie was laid to rest in the sky and the sun and waves He is in the cosmos now Watching us and helping us. I am so sad - but he stops me from being so. Planted in our memory.
These past few days that beach has kept company with me. For several days now I wondered why.
Then it came to me – I had planted a dream on the coast.
My mind’s eye easily travels back. Its footprint lies in the sand. It is also formed of a memory of conversations in the driftwood and the seashells, the small snatched moments of visits, the embrace of a time with a shared childhood.
The roar of the waves in their forever, drawn in the night, meeting the dawn. No picture of the beach is ever the same. Yet the familiar has a feel of a forever that will go beyond my time and space – when I return to the dream planted and the light falls out of the sky.
You passed through early this morning - I woke from a dream. There was no light in the sky. It's winter here. They say - is it a comfort? - that darkness is important so you can imagine light But when in the middle though I am not able to bear it. As you called by this morning I heard you say, 'See you in the future' - That light you gave, big and broad, wide Filling the room. Before, I - we - had no warning of the coming darkness. Now, the future is not what I thought it would be: Something for which we had No preparation - a massive body blow really Beaten up by the news, black and blue. And yet - as you walked by this morning I saw your light
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I lift the bonnet of my memory on you: The voice on the phone telling me the terrible news of your death. The Autumn leaves turn away from green Hardly believing the deepening sense of loss Of your sparkled energy of life That was a sign of hope; The hope is different now - I struggle with this - Turning away into something - Not sure what yet. I have not found my footing. There is no cure for it, Only healing.
The anticipation is like the bark which is way worse
Than the actual arrival of the thing – the bite, I suppose.
I lie awake all night thinking
Of the morning cold, the dark sun, the coalface:
The absence of birdsong and the full throated cry of the alarm clock
Intrudes into the dreamless sleep.
A scratch and the yawn and then the arrival
Which is covered in the inevitability of the thing.
We were wildlife forever, singing and dancing –
Let us not forget either the crying in anger or fear
On the savannah.
Not all of it was fun. The usual suspects lurking in the scrub,
props like lion and the odd boomslang
to keep our attention and eyes on life – which we prized:
Wild forever, seeped in flora and fauna.
I can still feel the ancestral sun on our backs.
We fooled ourselves that winters of discontent
Were only stored up for those to come after us.
I want the time before now and the end to be done properly
And, if a I am lucky, joyfully.
The stuff we deal with has to be walked through and not around.
It is painful, and not to be taken lightly.
Walk through – a slight shuffle or a stagger through
– maybe a wobble through –
But a get-through
To the end, properly.
I have arrived at this place – don’t ask – It’s not quite what I expected. It has no shape or colour - but it is a place, at least. It has space and time Not quite like a Little House on the Prairie kind of place. Not a Hotel Budapest either. (Odd examples, really) Neither, if any, that can be pinned down. Not a movie kind of place. This much I know, the throbbing has gone. I am in this place with space between the lines that are both said and unsaid.