Mary Oliver, Evidence (Boston: Beacon Press, 2009)
I have a practice of reading poems in the morning as my morning coffee is brewing. I usually read poetry standing and read it out loud to a room where no one else is present. Mary Oliver's poems invite such an opportunity. Whereas some poems roll off of my tongue, I have to practice the timing and rhythm of these poems. I find myself repeating to change emphasis or the placing of a pause.
Make no mistake about it, these poems are worth the effort. Seemingly simple poems of nature and of everyday feelings of regret, grief, hope and love, they get my mind to thinking and set my emotions rolling.
I often turn down the corner of a page when I discover a poem that is worth a return visit. This small volume was filled with such pages by the time I had finished my first reading of the book."Hallelujah" speaks to my particular age, "Mysteries, Yes" is a song of praise. There are so many more.
Sometimes I have a tendency to dismiss the "nature poets" as being a bit simplistic. After all so much of the experience of nature requires no words and its most profound appreciation is often silence. Mary Oliver has a gentle touch that uses just the right amount of words - never too many - to express things that are not often captured in words at all.
I shall read more of her poems.