Poetry Break- “Poem (the spirit likes to dress up)” by Mary Oliver and one of mine


Update 1/19/19:  My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now.  It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.

I’ve always enjoyed Mary Oliver’s nature based themes and spiritual themes.  The last stanza of this poem with the lines, “…lights up the deep and wondrous/drownings of the body/like a star” is gorgeous.  I think of the spirit like that–this beautiful light that lives in form, much to its dismay at times.  The poem of mine is about finding love and peace in simple moments in nature.  Magic happens in the now.

Poem (the spirit likes to dress up)
The spirit
  likes to dress up like this:
   ten fingers,
   ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
  at night
   in the black branches,
     in the morning
in the blue branches
  of the world.
   It could float, of course,
     but would rather
plumb rough matter.
  Airy and shapeless thing,
   it needs
     the metaphor of the body,
lime and appetite,
  the oceanic fluids;
   it needs the body’s world,

and imagination
  and the dark hug of time,
     and tangibility,
to be understood,
  to be more than pure light
   that burns
     where no one is —
so it enters us —
  in the morning
   shines from brute comfort
     like a stitch of lightning;
and at night
  lights up the deep and wondrous
   drownings of the body
     like a star.  
— by Mary Oliver



Give me guilt free days in an endless

dreamland of bright green fields—

wild alyssum and newly hatched monarchs

a few feet away from our heavy heads.

We’ll rest on a quilt my grandmother made

and tell each other a few stories from our lives.

Our kisses might lead somewhere later than night,

or not, but our ties to earth and heaven

will be loosened, long enough to breathe

out complicated molecules of our pasts

and create a glorious, enviable,

present tense life.

© 2012 by Tricia Barker



One thought on “Poetry Break- “Poem (the spirit likes to dress up)” by Mary Oliver and one of mine

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