—after Mary Oliver
Pencils hidden in trees in case something speaks to her,
in case she is urged to respond as she wanders forest, seashore—
this patch of Province Lands packed with emblems.
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
A disciple of Thoreau ― world as cipher, subtext:
the disquieted deer, seven white butterflies,
watchful owl, battered whelk,
the world’s roots, what lies under?
Graced as it is with the ordinary.
It is sweet to wake each day, to taste sea spray,
smell the fecund earth, feel birch bark,
You are the heart of the cedars of Lebanon
and the fir called Douglas
the bristlecone, the willow.
fit onto a meditation seat of moss,
hear the cacophony of birdsong, ocean splash.
I dream at night of the birds, of the beautiful
dark seas they push through.
It is not a wide range of space that matters,
but what each part means to the whole, to the human soul.
Blackwater Pond is life ― dross, infinite, random.
Tell me what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Stilled in each moment noting connections in this palette of the varied.
Luminous as it is with mystery
Not human society but permutations of God:
marsh lily, gull, the Truro bear.
There is only one question:
how to love this world?
Moments one knows what it is to be alive
fully and willing to live fully in the moment.
Morning by singular morning
and shell by broken shell.
By Marc Frazier
Italicized lines are from Mary Oliver.
Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review (forthcoming), Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had memoir from his book WITHOUT published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre Cobalt Magazine and Evening Street Review and Punctuate (forthcoming). He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been featured on Verse Daily. His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection titled Each Thing Touches (Glass Lyre Press) that has garnered numerous favorable reviews. His website is www.marcfrazier.org.
Photo by the author.