“If I have any secret stash of poems, anywhere, it might be about love, not anger.” – Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver, one of my very favorite poets, has already graced us with a wonderful bounty of beautiful poems about the natural world and the joy of being alive in it. In her latest collection, she finally is letting us into the place that shines through all of her other poetry: her heart.
She structured this collection into three parts: The Journey, Love, and Felicity, and they follow the course of love: discovering who we are and what we’re about so that we can love and be loved, the falling in love, and then a single poem on felicity — great happiness, which I’ve included below. I love the entire collection, but the poems in the “Love” section are particularly bright – they are short, exuberant, and full of intimacy. Her relationship with her partner of over 40 years, Molly Malone Cook, was the lifeblood of this collection, and it beams with the quiet radiance of their love.
A Voice from I Don’t Know Where
It seems you love this world very much.
“Yes,” I said. “This beautiful world.”
And you don’t mind the mind, that keeps you
busy all the time with its dark and bright wonderings?
“No, I’m quite used to it. Busy, busy,
all the time.”
And you don’t mind living with those questions,
I mean the hard ones, that no one can answer?
“Actually, they’re the most interesting.”
And you have a person in your life whose hand
you like to hold?
“Yes, I do.”
It must surely, then, be very happy down there
in your heart.
“Yes,” I said. “It is.”
Author photo by Barbara Savage Cheresh.