Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Special Birthday

I have been flummoxed all day, only part of it wondering what poem might be appropriate to post today. I couldn't find one that is appropriately celebratory but not sentimental and silly. I doubt one has been written on this occasion and I am certainly not up to the task, not today and probably never. How often do poets become great-grandmothers? So many of the female ones don't even have children. The male one -- well ... let's say it's not on their radar even if they are old enough. There is a poem by Grace Paley that is not specifically on this subject, beautifully celebratory but very personal to her and not applicable to me. So, finally I decided that Mary Oliver celebrates all kinds of life and in this one she not only receives and rejoices but gives, receives and rejoices. It seems appropriate by extension.

The Gift

I wanted to thank the mockingbird for the vigor of his song.
Every day hesang from teh rim of the field, while I picked
blueberries or just idled in the sun.
Every day he came fluttering by to show me, and why not,
the white blossoms in his wings.
So one day I went there with a machine, and played some songs
of Mahler.
The mockingbird stopped singing, he came close and seemed
to listen.
Now when I go down to the field, a little Mahler spills
through the sputters of his song.
How happy I am, lounging in the light, listening as the music
floats by.
And I give thanks also for my mind, the thought of giving
a gift.
And mostly I'm grateful that I take this world so seriously.


Kass said...

A Mahler mockingbird! I'm so curious to know what Mary played. Perhaps a bit of the 6th Symphony?

Jonas said...



Your Mary Oliver poem, The Gift, inspired me to write my most recent blog based on her words. Thanks for your gift of Oliver's poem -- barbara