Mary Oliver...A Remembrance

Mary Oliver.jpg

Mary Oliver was a great North American mystic.  She called herself a " praise poet," but she did not come to her sense of praise easily for she had been sexually abused by her father as a child.  The day she graduated from high school she  left home and never returned.  She says it took her years to get her life back.  "For years and years I struggled just to love my life." 

She was a profound creation centered mystic who awakens us all to the healing powers of nature.  Here are a few of my favorite lines from her poetry ( including of course her poem "At the River Clarion" which names so wonderfully the cosmic Christ and which I reproduce in my latest book on Hildegard of Bingen)

"Glory to the world, that great teacher"

"There is only one question: how to love the world"

" I want to be in partnership with the universe."

" let me keep company with those who say 'look!' And laugh in astonishment and bow their heads."

"Still, what I want in my life
Is to be willing
to be dazzled--
To cast aside the weight of facts.

Mary Oliver drank deeply from the wells of the via positiva as well as the via negativa--she talks of " the black river of loss" and of how "nature has many mysteries--some of them severe."  She urges us to do the same.

Mary Oliver recites her poem; set to Phildel's Piano B.
”…When it's over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. “
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)