Guilty! Guilty! Guilty. All 3 counts. Thank god. I cried when I heard the judge, from both grief and relief.
Ran through the neighborhood with STA in the afternoon. Cold and windy. I don’t remember much, except for STA’s description of the video project he’s working on. Anything else? A for sale sign at the house on the next block, a cracked sidewalk, a few dogs, a kid outside the daycare at the church on 43rd and 32nd, the warm sun, the brisk wind, a fat tire hauling ass on Edmund, a truck stopped at the stop sign unwilling to move until we passed even though we were still far from the intersection.
Reading an article about Mary Oliver last week, I was struck by this passage:
…it’s tempting to be blinded by the more immediately visible parts of speech: the monolithic nouns, the dynamic verbs, the charismatic adjectives. Mousier ones—pronouns, prepositions, particles—go ignored. In “Cold Poem,” for instance, from her 1983 collection American Primitive, overlooking the “we”s and the “our”s, of which there are many, is almost irresistible. One is tempted instead to luxuriate in the broader strokes and be seduced by the wholesome imagery: “I think of summer with its luminous fruit, / blossoms rounding to berries, leaves, / handfuls of grain.” There’s a mental manipulation to Oliver’s rhapsody, a mesmeric quality, as though by conjuring these organic elements, she leaves her readers vulnerable to hypnotic suggestion. Do you feel relaxed? Are you ready for nature? But you miss a lot by allowing the large language to overshadow the more muted connective tissue.Mary Oliver and the Nature-esque/Alice Gregory
Mary’s Mousier Words: A Few Favorites
Meanwhile (adverb): at the same time
from “Wild Geese”
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain…
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air…
Meanwhile is a cousin to my favorite word, besides. Maybe more so than besides, it suggests that there are other lives/worlds/events happening too, that it is not just about you.
Anyway (adverb): as an additional consideration or thought
there was no barn.
No child in the barn.
from “Don’t Hesitate” in Swan
It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Anyway leaves room for other ideas, maybe even encourages you to get over whatever idea you’re fixated on.
Everyday (adjective): ordinary
note: not the same as every day, which means each day and evokes routine, repeated practice
Everyday—a little conversation with God, or his envoy
Everyday—I study the difference between water and stone.
Everyday—I stare at the world
Everyday—I have work to do:
It took me some time to realize that MO meant everyday, as in ordinary time (which she discusses in Upstream), and not every day as in habit, repeated practice. The distinction seems subtle, but rhetorically more powerful to start each line with Everyday instead of Every day. And, everyday suggests a more distant connection with specific time. It isn’t that you do these things each day on repeat, but that you do them when in the realm of the ordinary–does that make sense?
But, actually, I like to read her use of everyday/every day as both at the same time, or as both being possible meanings: the ordinary world (which is inside the clock, is ordered time, and is disciplined and useful), and the creative work she does every day that is both ordinary and extraordinary–the work of paying attention, being astonished, and telling others about it.
As I’ve been reading MO’s poems, I’ve been sensing this tension over what “work” means and the relationship between her work (poems), the world, and Eternity. I feel like the double-meaning/ambiguity of everyday/every day might be speaking to this tension—maybe it’s not intended to be resolved but to puzzled over and that’s part of the work? Or, maybe the ambiguity of it is about our circling around it, always looping through everyday and every day?
Here’s an example of MO expressing the tension between her work, the poem, and the world:
From The Book of TIme
I rose this morning early as usual, and went to my desk.
But it’s spring,
and the thrush is in the woods,
somewhere in the twirled branches, and he is singing.
And so, now, I am standing by the open door.
And now I am stepping down onto the grass.
I am touching a few leaves.
I am noticing the way the yellow butterflies
move together, in a twinkling cloud, over the field.
And I am thinking: maybe just looking and listening
is the real work.
Maybe the world, without us,
is the real poem.