Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dazzling Darkness

The title of Mary Oliver's poem from which I took the name of my blog is Spring and it is very winter here. But the phrase that so captured me, "dazzling darkness" is perfectly apt. We have just begun our descent into winter, but the combination of the dark and the snow is dazzling indeed.

Whatever time of the year it is, I cannot express how deeply this poem moves me. Any time. Every time. If you told me that I could only have one favorite poem, this would be it. At least for now. As I read it over again, I see that it carries some of the same themes that I was working with yesterday, the question of how we are to love this world.

Spring

Somewhere

a black bear

has just risen from sleep

and is staring

down the mountain.

All night

in the brisk and shallow restlessness

of early spring

I think of her,

her four black fists

flicking the gravel,

her tongue

like a red fire

touching the grass,

the cold water.

There is only one question:

how to love this world.

I think of her

rising

like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against

the silence

of the trees.

Whatever else

my life is

with its poems

and its music

and its cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness

coming

down the mountain,

breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her –

her white teeth,

her wordlessness,

her perfect love.

~ Mary Oliver ~


And I long to enter into that Wordlessness. Into that Perfect Love.

5 comments:

The Pollinatrix said...

Wow. I've read this poem before (Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets), but somehow, seeing it here, posted on your beautiful blog, makes it even more illuminated.

I'm glad to have connected with your blog.

And the "dazzling darkness" makes me think of one of my favorite Bible verses: "I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." ~Isaiah 45:3

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Rebecca,

Thanks for sharing the total MO poem here. It is lovely. And the scripture that Pollinatrix quotes - "treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places".......I am so lucky to begin seeing the beauty in darkness, winter, cold. (Been hanging around with you Awakening Women too much:)

xoxox

Rebecca Johnson said...

Polli, Here goes the synchronicity thing again. (I think you've been following that at Lucy's?) Any way, our church has a Longest Night Service every year to "celebrate" the winter solstice and the darkness in our lives. You know, not everyone is ready to embrace the gift of the darkness. My pastor and I were thinking about what our theme verse should be this year. I think that we just found it! Love...

Rebecca Johnson said...

SS, It's so true about who we hang out with. We just can't help seeing the world with new/different/bigger eyes. Thanks for hanging out with me. : ) Love....

The Pollinatrix said...

That's wonderful! I'm thrilled that I connected to that for you.

The synchronicity thing is just all over the place, although I've been referring to it as "interlacing" and "serendipity" lately, because those are the words that (synchronistically) keep coming up.