Cold Poem by Mary Oliver
Close to the edge. Almost
bunch up and boil down
from the north of the white bear.
This tree-splitting morning
I dream of his fat tracks,
the lifesaving suet.
I think of summer with its luminous fruit,
blossoms rounding to berries, leaves,
handfuls of grain.
Maybe what cold is, is the time
we measure the love we have always had, secretly,
for our own bones, the hard knife-edged love
for the warm river of the I, beyond all else; maybe
that is what it means the beauty
of the blue shark cruising toward the tumbling seals.
In the season of snow,
in the immeasurable cold,
we grow cruel but honest; we keep
if we can, taking one after another
the necessary bodies of others, the many
crushed red flowers.
I have found myself looking towards poetry and music for inspiration and meditation this Lent. So far Mary Oliver has made two appearances, and will probably make a few more before the season is over. Her writing brings to life the simple things that embody complex emotions and feelings, they bring to life creation and God. Her writing brings to life my imagination and faith like it hasn’t been in some time. I hope that you also can experience some of that when you read poetry or listen to music.
A few line in this poem really focused my thoughts today. “Cold now. Close to the edge. Almost unbearable.” Almost unbearable is the key. At times, life and its challenges seem so unbearable, almost enough to cause a stop to everything. But we fight, keep ourselves alive, remembering the things that are worth it. Remembering the things that brought us to this point in time. Just like the seasons, sorrow will pass… these moments keep us grounded, recognizing over humanity. The cold of winter reminds us of hte hard times, but a brighter, happier season is only a few months away.
Our faith is kind of like the cold. When we struggle, question, doubt, we think that it may be unbearable. However, we are always reminded of something to get us to the next season. Something or someone comes and guides us to recognition that God was present all along. “Cold is the time we measure the love we always had.”
Grace and Peace,