LINES WRITTEN IN THE DAYS OF GROWING DARKNESS

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by Mary Oliver

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

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November’s Beaver Moon, courtesy of Mother Nature.

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On Thanksgiving night, the full moon will be as plump as the turkey at your Thanksgiving table.

 

If Mary Oliver were Italian, she’d say,
Guarda la luna, la bella luna, just like the old man in my favorite movie of all time. Capice?

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Thanks, Norman Jewison. And Buon Giorno del Ringraziamento to all.

Toni 11/25/15

BRACE YOURSELF FOR THE FAREWELL

I live in the open mindedness of not knowing enough about anything.

~Mary Oliver

THE PELICAN
by Dixon Lanier Merritt

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week.
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.

I love learning the secrets of my plumed neighbors. The latest: That pouch suspended from the lower half of the pelican’s long straight bill? It really can hold up to three times more than its stomach. Enough for a week.

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One episode of Downton Abbey is my personal pelican pouch.

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The fiendish games and sweet scenes Julian Fellows dishes out weekly, the keep-’em-wanting-more shenanigans (like when Mr. Pamuk dies ‘on the job’ so to speak) fuel me from Sunday to Sunday. If you’re a proper obsessed fan ~ one of 25.5 million ~ of the Most Successful Ever British Drama, you’re mourning the end of the series.

I’m already hungering for the 2016 plot-clinching twists. Tom and Lady Rose may be out of the picture, but there must be some oil-on-the-fire sizzling hijinks ahead for Lady Edith and Lady Mary.  Then there are the nonplussing matters of inheritance, wills, and family squabbles, oh my.

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I wonder if Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson will marry and leave to run a B&B sooner than later? (Oh, wait, there is no later, only season six.)  Will the distressed and downtrodden Edith marry the pig farmer?

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Will Cousin Isobel (ugh, that Lord Merton and his dastardly spawn) and Cousin Violet move in together? Maybe Violet will bob her hair. Oh get over it, she’ll say.

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Maybe Spratt and Denker will share a bowl of chicken soup.

 

embargoed_downton_abbey_ep3_13Will Mr. Moseley marry O’Brien and become B&B couple #2?

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I’m used to the idea that nothing good ever happens to the perennially unlucky, wrongfully-convicted, and alternately-jailed Anna and Bates. But they do suffer nobly, don’t they?

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More importantly, will Daisy go to Oxford? 

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I wish they’d bring back Isis. Whatever was the point of that?

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Oh, I’m going to miss those juicy Crawley plotlines.

No more sniping over the duck breast (oh no, the estate’s in peril again, what do you plan to do about it?), exchanging confidences over a glass of sherry, letters, letters, letters. I hoped the sun would never set on Downton Abbey. Hints from Fellowes in his New York Times interview a few weeks ago were marrow-freezingly scary. “Well, you know, Downton is a bumpy path.”

Bumpier, yet, when Robert loses his fortune and it’s my pouch that’s empty.

Toni 3/27/15

WHAT SHALL I LEARN OF BEANS OR BEANS OF ME? HENRY DAVID THOREAU ASKS, MARY OLIVER ANSWERS

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♣♣♣HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY♣♣♣

 

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Putting in the peas, it’s a St. Patrick’s Day tradition. (This year, expect a delay.)  Shamrocks, leprechaun hats, and Google remind me to make soda bread and that it’s (almost) time to work the ground.

Being in the garden reminds me of Mary Oliver’s poem, Why I Wake Early. She knows how to pay attention, be idle, wander dunes, kneel in grass. She says she doesn’t know exactly what a prayer is. I say, it’s her poetry.

Oliver writes what she likes to call ‘Praise Poetry’. Her poems comfort and amuse me. She focuses on the good and the hopeful and doesn’t mess around with what makes her unhappy in her writing.

She’s used up a lot of pencils over the years. And experienced crushing loss. But Oliver considers her life an amazing gift. Listen to her poems on The Writer’s Almanac. Garrison Keillor reads them to you while you’re otherwise engaged in buttering toast or shooing squirrels.

They (the poems, not the toast) have welcome stickiness. You hear one and a day later it’s still with you, still there in the brainpan, delivering some good thing of use. It’s what folksy-literary critics call ” a bearshit-on-the-trail” poem ~ a true and clear picture of the familiar that starts in the today and ends in the infinite.

I’m going to have a friend in this world as long as Mary Oliver keeps on living her One Wild and Precious Life.

 

Self-Portrait

by Mary Oliver

I wish I was twenty and in love with life
and still full of beans.
Onward, old legs!
There are the long, pale dunes; on the other side
the roses are blooming and finding their labor
no adversity to the spirit.
Upward, old legs! There are the roses, and there is the sea
shining like a song, like a body
I want to touch
though I’m not twenty
and won’t be again but ah! seventy. And still
in love with life. And still
full of beans.

 

Toni 3/17/15