You’re like a little wild thing
that was never sent to school.
Sit, I say, and you jump up.
Come, I say, and you go galloping down the sand
to the nearest dead fish
with which you perfume your sweet neck.
It is summer.
How many summers does a little dog have?
Run, run, Percy.
This is our school.
– Mary Oliver
I think Mary Oliver would have made a wonderful homeschooling mom . . . for dogs and kids!
With What Hope
did you write your way into paradox,
hands lit by thorns
and the creek
holding marsh marigolds under pines
unimaginable last spring?
this passageway over the swale
where willow tips reach upward,
gather the sap of earth
and visible as soon as we arrive.
Do we belong here?
Merely by walking with bare feet,
and what’s within comes without
In her generosity
she makes herself susceptible
Everything comes to drink with
a winter’s worth of thirst,
parched lips –
and still, she flows.
Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,
Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry –
Meadows and gardens running through my hand.
In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams;
A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
That will drink deeply of a century’s streams;
These lilies shall make summer on my dust.
Here in their safe and simple house of death,
Sealed in their shells, a million roses leap;
Here I can blow a garden with my breath,
And in my hand a forest lies asleep.
– Muriel Stuart
I fell in love with this wild rose bush over the winter. Finding her was like walking into the promise of one of my favorite poems.
With the help of my loyal photo assistant, Ellen, I’m planning to take photos in this spot over the next few months and watch this rose unfold its “givingness.”
Sometimes it’s these unexplainable little projects that wake me up at night. And I have to follow them. I have to follow the calling of the wild rose.
How it stands out against the darkenings
of the rainy evening, young and pure,
its tendrils arched everywhere in givingness
yet absorbed in its own rose-being;
the shallow flowers, already open here and there,
each unasked for and untended:
thus, immeasurably exceeded by itself
and indescribably self-aroused,
it calls to the wander, who in his evening
meditating comes past along the road:
Oh look at me, see, over here, how safe I am
and unprotected and having all I need.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
I find many poems,
and bits of wild
carried home in my pockets.
Every day, he says,
“I want to make something, Mama.”
as he drags a chair across from the table to the butcher block
stands up tall
next to me,
I’ve been making something
with a little person (or two, or three)
next to me,
for more than 13 years.
it wears me out.
I dream about being alone
But other days I stand in awe
of how this simple act
repeated over and over again,
alchemy in the kitchen,
in the garden,
has shaped their hands,
made my life,
nourished our family.