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language of the gods {8/11/14}

Kelley Clink

I used to love poetry. 

When I was a teenager, I reveled in it. Devoured it. I never thought too much about what I was reading, didn't care what a poem was "about"--I just let the words wash over me to see how they made me feel. The best ones touched something beyond language. They made me expansive on the inside, made me small and infinite at the same time. An experience I understand now as a brushing up against the divine. 

Two college degrees in literature pretty much ruined that.

For years after school I hated poetry. It had become something I needed to explicate, a mystery I was supposed to solve with clues I didn't have. 

What had once made me feel wide open and human now made me feel like an idiot. 

It's only been over the past couple of years that I've started to recover. Thanks to authors like Anne Lamott and Susannah Conway, I've discovered Rumi and Mary Oliver. I've realized that I'm a grown-ass woman, and I can read poetry any damn way I want to. I can skip the poems that don't make sense, that don't speak to me. I can love the poems I love without putting them under a microscope. 

Sometimes being an adult is really fun.

Anyway, today's prompt was Handwriting, and our fearless leader suggested we write out a quote and photograph it. I knew exactly what I wanted to write--it's from a poem by Mary Oliver that I've been meaning to share here for a while.

I'm including the full poem below. The lines I wrote in my notebook are bolded, in case anyone has trouble deciphering my handwriting.

"Messenger" by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird--
     equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
     keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be 
     astonished.

The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
     and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
     to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
     that we live forever.

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