Morning Poem by Mary Oliver
I’m not much of one for New Year’s resolutions, but I am someone who tends to pay attention at the beginning of a new year. What is possible? What might be trying to happen in this next year? What could happen? “Morning Poem,” is one I came across just before the new year. It speaks to that sense at the beginning of some mornings—or at the beginning of some years?—a sense that something new is happening, again, all over again. Or could be. This is how it begins:
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches—
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies. . .
I find I read a poem more carefully if I retype it rather than simply paste it in. I hear the lines in my head and linger over them. The heaped ashes of the night turn into leaves again and fasten themselves to the high branches.
Ponds appear like black cloth on which are painted islands.
This morning, January, out my own windows, there are no green leaves. What emerges out of the darkness is the graceful tangle of trunks and branches—and the pale sky in between. This seems more enchanted somehow—or enchanting—after reading Mary Oliver’s poem. Ordinary but not. Something is happening. Something is beginning, again. It could begin like this:
Every January the world is created.
Every January morning the world is created.
Out of the heaped ashes of the night
the trees announce themselves,
The full text of Morning Poem, along with a few other poems by Mary Oliver, can be found here.
Photos are from our living room window.