Small Poetic Thoughts

I am not ready for the epic poetry of Milton or Homer.  I am not even ready for the apparently brilliant words of Shakespeare.  I am sure he is clever, but when you have to look up every other word, and when you have to pretend you are a man to enjoy the thought, then reading the poem becomes too much work.

For now, I live in the poetry of Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry.  Their words and their images do not feel pretentiously distant, but nor do they feel tritely familiar.  Take the two of the following poem.  I feel after reading them that poetry is not reserved for cryptic and Elite, but for the honest and astute.

Watching a Documentary about Polar Bears/ Trying to survive on the Melting Ice Floes

That God had a plan, I do not doubt.

But what if His plan was, that we would do better?

~Mary Oliver

Like Snow

Suppose we did our work

like the snow, quietly, quietly,

leaving nothing out.

~Wendell Berry


1 Comment

  1. I too love Wendell Berry. I have a book of his poems: ‘Openings’: the poem ‘The Fearfulness of Hands That Have Learned Killing’ is dreadfully true! But I don’t know that you have to pretend to be a man to enjoy Shakespeare. He and Wendell Berry say the same stuff, in the end. Ann


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