Tuesday, November 10, 2009

little serpent-love: Mary Oliver, I bow down at your feet

I took my second class last night from Stefanie Renard at Yogaworks in Larkspur, and for the second time she blew my mind not only with the quality of her instruction (and the sheer ass-kickery of the practice) but also with the words she shared during savasana. This Mary Oliver poem, from a book called "Owls and Other Fantasies" (the title of which, alone, confirms my deep reverence for this poet and her way of regarding the world), swept over me, took me to tears and back again.

Long Afternoon at the
Edge of Little Sister Pond

As for life,
I'm humbled,
I'm without words
sufficient to say

how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over,

and long pale afternoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
still unhatched

though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen -
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of holiness.

Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort -
along with human love,

dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about

stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,

and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
As for death,
I can't wait to be the hummingbird,
can you?

~ Mary Oliver ~

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