Kundalini Splendor

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Poems for Mary Oliver (from "The Kundalini Poems: Reflections of Radiance and Grace") 

Poems for Mary Oliver

I was deeply saddened this morning when I learned of the death of Mary Oliver.  She held a special place in my heart, and of course was beloved and admired by many thousands of reader.s  For me, she was a pillar and a portal, someone we knew and depended on to maintain our own sense of the world as a place of hope and beauty.  To lose her is like losing an old friend or dear one.

I was fortunate to see her onstage a few times when I was living in San Francisco.  She was sly and clever, and reminded me of what she was, a retired professor with a wry sense of humor.  She was politically astute, though she did not write about politics.  He appearances were attended by throngs of admirers and the lines for her book signings very long.

I loved her stories.  She never used a computer but preferred an ancient typewrite.  When it "acted up" she put it under her desk until it behaved.

A Tribute for Mary Oliver

She came among us
like a wild creature
fresh from the forest,
wearing a tunic of green,
wreath of flowers in her hair.

Orpheus returned, 
she sang to us of mysteries
long lost,
secrets of the animals
and trees,
how these were
our ancestors,
beloved precursors
of our souls.

Bears, rabbits, garden snakes,
small bodies of water,
even spiders––
all received her blessing,
all part of the oneness that is.

We listened in awe
 to her sacred melodies,
in trance and yearning
for what we had forgotten,
our lost songs of spirit,
ceremonies of connection,
the place where we began.

Kissing the Hem of Mary Oliver: "Devotions"

Here she is, I am holding her
in my hands.
A new and weighty book,
the record of her life,
each beauty (a leaf, a star)
tumbling forth
one after another,
her memorial,
her memory book,
her journey of 
so many years.

She loved, was one with
nature itself,
the birds, the ponds,
the bears in the trees.
Even the insects
and snakes,
nothing was excluded,
she was the original
nature mystic
from ages past,
a goddess or queen
from some other world,
returned to ours
to give us
new eyes to see,
new ways to connect
with what so many had
amidst the concrete
and clatter
of this wherever we have made,
glimpses of the place
where our 
Mother lived,
the realm from which we came.


Mary Oliver's Face

Gaze on this portrait 
and what you will see
is someone who has
grown old and wise,
who sees with ineluctable
clarity the inner truth of things
and knows who she is.

She carries her age well,
allowing each wrinkle
and shadow
to define her essence:
knowing, resolute,
yet with a wry pixie smile
 that says
she is taking the world
and her life
with a grain of salt,
knows that not this
nor any poem
can be the final answer,
now waiting with poise
and grace to receive 
the next unfolding.

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