One more for the road...

This was just too good to overlook: wandering through a bookstore yesterday, I came upon the new Mary Oliver book of poems.  Inside I found a gem she calls "To Be Human Is to Sing Your Own Song."

Everything I can think of that my parents
thought or did I don't think and I don't do.
I opened windows, they shut them. I pulled
open the curtains, they shut them. If you
get my drift. Of course there were some
similarities - they wanted to be happy
and the weren't. I wanted to be Shelley and I
wasn't. I don't mean I didn't have to avoid
imitation, the gloom was pretty heavy. But
then, for me, there was the forest, where
they didn't exist. And the fields. Where I
learned about birds and other sweet tidbits
of existence. The song sparrow, for example.

In the song sparrow's nest the nestlings,
those who would sing eventually, must listen
careful to the father bird as he sings
and make their own song in imitation of his.
I don't know if any other bird does this (in
nature's way has to do this). But I know a
child doesn't have to. Doesn't have to.
Doesn't have to. And I didn't.

So much wisdom and tenderness, so much resistance and surrender simultaneously, so much awareness that in the second half of our lives there is more room for grace within ourselves and those we love than we ever imagined. So  true...


ddl said…
ahhhhh....weepy. I heard something on creativity recently-- we learn by mimic-ing and imitation, but then we "remix" it. I believe so so strongly in discipleship-- for pastoral leadership too-- not just a head-nod to this, or something that we take a weekend workshop on-- but carefully examining the interpersonal relationships and lifting up the beauty and grace in committed relationships (like marriage, brotherly concern, parent-child, and all the other relationship variations) and blessing them with our questions, affirmations, challenge (questions), and enthusiasm.
I need to do a hospital visit...sermon...etc. Peace to you. May you and Di be washed in grace on your journey...may tears cleanse and restore...may the drive be meditative (not irritating) and may the destination be home.
RJ said…
so beautiful ddl and so right for my heart: thank you.
Jeanne Poland said…
Good Morning
I discovered your blog this AM when researching the poem by Mary Oliver.I live and create nearby in Hudson, NY.
Will subscribe to your blog and, I'm sure, find inspiration.Perhaps someday actually hear your voice and enjoy your face. Jeanne Poland
ntt5 said…
The poem reads "must listen carefully" - not careful.

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