Night and the River

May 1, 2011

Listen! Listen to this! Can you hear it?

Try speaking it aloud. Take a breath.

Give yourself over to it, even if you are in the presence of someone else. Do not think,  “This is an e-mail.” Do not think of all the e-mails waiting to be opened. Do not think of all the pressing obligations that await you, all the things you have not done.

Think instead, “This is a moment for me to accept a gift, a precious gift of words filled with the magic that words sometimes hold.”

Try it. Do it. Do it now . . .

 

Night and the River

I have seen the great feet
leaping
into the river
and I have seen moonlight
milky
along the long muzzle
and I have seen the body
of something
scaled and wonderful
slumped in the sudden fire of its mouth,
and I could not tell
which fit me
more comfortably, the power,
or the powerlessness;
neither would have me
entirely; I was divided,
consumed,
by sympathy,
pity, admiration.

After a while
it was done,
the fish had vanished, the bear
lumped away
to the green shore
and into the trees. And then there was only
this story.

It followed me home
and entered my house
a difficult guest
with a single
tune
which it hums all day and through the night
slowly or briskly,
it doesn’t matter,
it sounds like a river leaping and falling
it sounds like a body
falling apart.

Mary Oliver from Red Bird, 2008

If you followed my admonition, my heart felt admonition, I cannot presume to know how these words touched you inside but I would wager they touched you in some way–such is the nature and purpose of Mary Oliver’s tremendous outpourings over the years.

– Brother Bill

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