It’s time for another Mary Oliver poem. In truth, it’s always time for another Mary Oliver poem! She speaks to my condition so consistently, so deeply, with such clarity and grace that I often turn to her work for soul food.
“Morning Poem” came to mind earlier this week when I got up with the first rays of the sun — and there it was, edging above the rim of the earth, orange with the fire of life, raising the phoenix once again out of “the heaped ashes of the night.”
by Mary Oliver
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches …
You’ll find your own meaning in this poem. As for me, whenever that “heavier than lead” feeling comes over me, it’s reassuring to know I can go to the woods and rediscover the “beast” deep within me “shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted.”
Breathing in the beauty of nature is not the whole answer to the personal and public problems that weigh us down. But for me, it’s an important first step toward gaining hope and taking heart so I can get back into the fray.