Friday, September 10, 2010

The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts - September 9, 2010

For a long time

I was not even

In this world, yet

Every summer

Every rose

Opened in perfect sweetness

And lived

In gracious repose,

In its own exotic fragrance,

In its huge willingness to give

Something, from its small self,

To the entirely of the world.

I think of them, thousands upon thousands,

In many lands,

Whenever summer came to them,


Out of the patience of patience,

To leaf and bud and look up

Into the blue sky

Or, with thanks,

Into the rain

That would feed

Their thirsty roots

Latched into the earth-

Sandy or hard, Vermont or Arabia,

What did it matter,

The answer was simply to rise

In joyfulness, all their days.

Have I found any better teaching?

Not ever, not yet.

Last week I say my first Botticelli

And almost fainted,

And if I could I would paint like that

But am shelved somewhere below, with a few songs

About roses: teachers, also, of the ways

Toward thanks, and praise.

Mary paints with words, roses with petals, and golden age artists with strokes of color. All teach us to rise in joy, giving prayers and thanks. What else do they teach us? Beauty yes, but what of the thorns? Looking deeper would we see a prickly poet and a painter who fears women? Inside all are evolved harsh lessons, to fear and to protect.

When I was a child I often walked among my father’s rose garden. The flowers were nice, but I entered my father’s world with trepidation. In the rose plants not only were there thorns and reminders of my father’s tough standards, but other risks. The roses were full of bees, ants, spiders, Japanese beetles, and toxins my father sprayed on the roses to keep them whole, to keep them safe.

Roses do teach me to give thanks and praise, and also, in that gratitude, rightly claim the stabbing pain of this world as beauty too.

Today, I ask you to join me in looking out at the “harsh” reality of the world, and breathe once in and out together, and feel the energy of the wholeness.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I am thinking precisely about this today, something about muddy feet.

    Happy Birthday to Mary Oliver.