On Friday I shared a favorite poem, "Pied Beauty", with friends. It was the first time I'd read it aloud since college and I'd forgotten the spell of Hopkins' words:
Pied BeautyGLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
As I traveled this weekend to speak at a conference and spend time with friends (such beautiful souls), I stayed up far too late and awoke early each morning. Despite that, I was rarely exhausted--as I was absorbing the energy of everyone around me, infected with the excitement of hearing their stories. I suspect that my travel-mania and joy in having new adventures is as potent as any drug...
Revisiting my Mary Oliver this morning, the prose poem "West Wind" resonated with me. This weekend I listened to tales of many spiritual journeys. Tales of joy, abandonment, fear, ambivalence, faith and struggle. Some were hard for me to hear as they hit so close to home. Others reminded me that my journey is unique among many paths. And thus, Mary's words about the pull of an embodied god feel so true this morning...
and bone, began to sing out, the way the sun
would sing if the sun could sing, if light had a
mouth and a tongue, if the sky had a throat, if
god wasn't just an idea but shoulders and a spine,
gathered from everywhere, even the most distant
planets, blazing up. Where am I? Even the rough
words come to me now, quick as thistles. Who
made your tyrant's body, your thirst, your delving,
your gladness? Oh tiger, bone-breaker
oh tree on fire! Get away from me. Come closer.
Picture above is the shell of a crab from a ramble on the beach in Cape Cod. I loved how every detail of this shell was so artful--how the closer I got, the more there was to see. And now that I'm home, the pull of the ocean is so strong I can hardly sit in my chair to write...