May 8 Mary Oliver – “A Silence”

Monday May 12 — A silence in which another voice may speak

Looks like we will be fasting from commencement gatherings this early May. So I pulled a Poetry post from 2014 to remind us of what a normal commencement tastes like.   The wonder and bravery that every commencement honors is right here. “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

May you meet three good surprises this May 8 Friday, tastes of a blest day and weekend.


john sj


Commencement days May 12, 2014.   “Lots of immediate work to dress campus at its best (missed, though, on the laggard cherry trees alongside Briggs). Lots of logistic work to get graduates and faculty+admins dressed for the solemnity; get the music right, get hospitality ready for speakers and 50 year alums.

In Dentistry many graduates are hooded by one or two or three of their kin who are already dentists; In Law three faculty have the hooding down to a rhythm. Even so, one tall grad knelt down as if to help the hooders reach over the top of his head, only to take an engagement ring out of his pocket and hold it out to the woman, one of those hooding, he asked to marry him. Saturday’s Baccalaureate Mass packed the Gesu Church. At the main campus commencement, The University first hooded Gerry Stockhausen, sj our immediate past president. His address was laced with wisdom and corny jokes. No one who had shared time with him at UDM was surprised. One UDM trustee, Brian Cloyd from Steelcase in Grand Rapids, told me how moved he was by the diversity of the main campus students as they walked to receive their diplomas. The whole human fabric, it seemed, showed itself; all of us were invited to pay attention to the beauty that we are.”

Today’s post has a name for this kind of paying attention; Mary Oliver calls it “Praying.”

Have a good day.

john sj



It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver



Something to catch my attention
a flower muscling its way through concrete on our front sidewalk
July 20, 2008 – 8:31 am

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