April 18 – Mary Oliver “starling in winter”

Wednesday   April 18 – a song for very late winter

My sibs and I gathered at Mary’s house on the edge of northern Wisconsin for a weekend.  A delicious and shocking visit from two back-to-back 12” blizzards, hurried along with pretty constant wind gusts from 25 mph on up.  Magical, even though we ate from the freezer for the 3+ days the snow locked us inside the house, now and then peeking out the front door over the 5 ft drifts.  That’s my other sister, Mary.

A magical time for us.   For me, the best blizzards in a long time.   This morning, back on campus, I looked for a Mary Oliver poem that was new to me and found one about a very late winter storm.   It’s exciting to find a new Mary Oliver poem.   Yes, definitely good to read it out loud, with pauses.

I hope it blesses this mid-day in the work week.


john st

The pic on the bottom is a van outside my sister’s garage;  the woman on the top is my sister Midge.


Today’s Post –  “Starling in winter”

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

From: Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

Copyright ©: Mary Oliver

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