Poetry from the Conference

~ Here Sleep Deer ~Image by ViaMoi via Flickr

During the Midwinter Conference, "Living Mindfully," at Fourth Church this past weekend, we read a number of poems that we hoped would encourage people in their practice of mindfulness. All of them can be found on our website page, "Readings and Poetry" (which you can visit through this link). Just to whet your appetite, here are the two from Mary Oliver:

Mornings at Blackwater

For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.

And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what will be, darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.

And live
your life.


When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn,
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

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2 comments:

Jan said...

I am happy to find your site, Roger. A wonderful resource for those of us on a path to live more mindfully and compassionately. Such lovely work you are doing. Believe, breathe, and be well! J

kikipotamus said...

Gorgeous. Thank you for these poems.