Mysteries, Yes

By Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Gratitude and love for Mary Oliver, on the 5th anniversary of this Alena Grace blog! Great teachers help us find beauty and truth even in the darkest of times. Her words have strengthened me to know I am here to learn and to love.

As Margaret Renkl so poignantly states in her recent NY times op-Ed 4/5/21: “…as the poets remind us, too, suffering is not our only birthright. Life is also our birthright. Life and love and beauty. ‘When despair for the world’ is all we can feel, as Wendell Berry puts it in The Peace of Wild Things, the world itself —with its wood drakes and its blue herons ‘who do not tax their lives with forethought/of grief’ — may be our greatest solace.’


For a Dancer

(Lyrics from Jackson Browne song 1974)

Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down

I don’t remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you’d always be around

Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you’re nowhere to be found

I don’t know what happens when people die
I can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It’s like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can’t sing
I can’t help listening

And I can’t help feeling stupid standing ’round
Crying as they ease you down
‘Cause I know that you’d rather we were dancing

Dancing our sorrow away
Right on dancing
No matter what fate chooses to play (There’s nothing you can do about it anyway)
Just do the steps that you’ve been shown
By everyone you’ve ever known

Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another’s steps have grown
In the end, there is one dance you’ll do alone

Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down

Perhaps a better world is drawing near
Just as easily, it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found

Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around (The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive, but you’ll never know

This April is the 25th anniversary of National Poetry month.

Recommend op-ed in NY Times 4/5/2021 written by Margaret Renkl, titled Thank God for the Poets.

“May you find and create the path that is solely yours, while knowing you are not alone.” JK

Moon and Water

MOON AND WATER by Mary Oliver

I wake and spend

the last hours

of darkness

with no one

but the moon.

She listens

to my complaints

like the good

companion she is

and comforts me surely

with her light.

But she, like everyone,

has her own life.

So finally I understand

that she has turned away,

is no longer listening.

She wants me

to refold myself

into my own life.

And, bending close,

as we all dream of doing,

she rows with her white arms

through the dark water

which she adores.


Through the lense of Love, we experience the richness of life-pulsing, welcoming, uniting, transcending; and only then do we understand that we belong to each other. And perhaps we begin to realize we’re all walking each other home. Namaste