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Vera’s Story: Mary Oliver Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Stories.
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I’m a Brit living in the USA (for 40 years) so have developed a fondness for American poets. One of my favourites is Mary Oliver. Her poem “The Summer Day” is on my refrigerator. I also have on my bedside table her New and Selected Poems. Volume One… I read a poem every morning.

Another favourite is “Wild Geese”. At this year’s memorial of 9/ll at the site of the World Trade Center, vice-president Joe Biden, did not give a speech. Instead he began this poem at the words “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine….” The poem ends on a soaring note.

from The Summer Day

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

STELLA’S STORY: BLUE NIGHT Thursday, 28 January 2010

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I have different poems to suit different occasions. Poems, fragments, even lines of poems I keep in my books, notice-board, notebook, iPod, in my heart and head. And I keep renewing them, thanks to the wonderful output of our poets. Last Christmas, I loved Carol Ann Duffy’s poem ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’; last year, for rainy days, I carried Don Paterson’s ‘Rain’; the last few years, Mary Oliver’s ‘Wild Geese’, hearing their ‘harsh and exciting’ cries as a wake up call to the world. For decades, I pondered over Giorgos Seferis’ ‘In the Manner of G.S.’. So many others…
Whenever I need reminding of my place in nature, in the order of things, whenever my expectations become too great, I reach for Sean O’Brien’s ‘Blue Night’. Downloaded from the Guardian, it lights up my computer screen. Therefore. Therefore, I become small, or tall. I draw strength and inspiration. Thank you Sean O’Brien.

from Blue Night by Sean O’Brien
They have no time for pity or belief,
The heavens, in their triumph of technique.

Stella Pierides writes prose and poetry.  Her forthcoming novel Alexandrias 40: In the Shade of the Lemon Tree is due out later on this year.