Friday Friyay: ' Devotions' by Mary Oliver
Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, expounding on her love for the physical world and the powerful bonds between all living things. Identified as "far and away, this country's best selling poet" by Dwight Garner, she now returns with a stunning and definitive collection of her writing from the last fifty years.
Carefully curated, these 200 plus poems feature Oliver's work from her very first book of poetry, No Voyage and Other Poems, published in 1963 at the age of 28, through her most recent collection, Felicity, published in 2015. This timeless volume, arranged by Oliver herself, showcases the beloved poet at her edifying best. Within these pages, she provides us with an extraordinary and invaluable collection of her passionate, perceptive, and much-treasured observations of the natural world.
Book Beginnings is at home on Rose City Reader, hosted by Gilion Dumas, and Friday 56 at Freda's Voice, hosted by Freda. I'll also be joining the Book Blog Hop, hosted by Billy over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.
'I Wake Close to Morning
Why do people keep asking to see
God's identity papers
when the darkness opening into morning
is more than enough?
Certainly any god might turn away in disgust.
Think of Sheba approaching
the kingdom of Solomon.
Do you think she had to ask,
"Is this the place?" p.3
This is from her last collection, Felicity from 2015, and I thought it was a lovely opening to the collection. Why must there be proof of beauty and hope and faith, if you can experience it for yourself each morning. It's like a reminder to trust yourself.
I worried lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not, how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning.
and sang.' p.59
This one really hit close to home for me because of the spikes in anxiety I've been experiencing the past few months. While I'm not quite capable of "giving it up" yet, this poem did make me unclench a little, which feels like a solid first step.
This week's question was suggested by Billy himself:
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein vs. Bram Stoker's Dracula. Which classic horror tale is scarier?
Whenever you put up Shelley's Frankenstein as a choice I'm going to have to go with it. It is simply a masterpiece. While it is not scary in the way people expect, in my opinion, it holds some deeply horrifying truths about human nature. The Creature himself isn't horrifying, although of course the idea of animated, stitched together body parts is the worst, but how bereft and alone he is, how his neglect leads to murder, how Frankenstein's abhorrence creates horror, well, it's quite something! Or as this meme puts it:
I straight up copied this meme from Reddit, if someone knows who to credit it to lemme know!
So that's me! A good mix between poetry and horror makes for an intriguing October Friday, I'd say. What are you reading?