Friday, April 30, 2010

Here's A Story to Break Your Heart...

Here is a story that will break your heart. Are you willing? Really?

Can words crucify a bad habit? Can a poem save lives?

Let Mary Oliver, crusader for the wild and endangered things, convince you.

Be led. For the wild things. For you and yours. For yourself. Then you can lead.


Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Have a great weekend! Love y'all.


  1. Interesting, sad poem. Thanks for sharing!

  2. A sad reminder here today of what's going on in the gulf of Mexico as a new wave of oil heads toward a fragile ecosystem. This is likely to be bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster.

    I am blessed to live on a lake and I get to hear loons in the off-season. I don't hear them in the summer when 'the summer people' come.

    They don't get to hear the thousands of Canada Geese that overwinter out here either but that's another story. I'm sure the word 'cacophony' was made just for such a racket!

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

  3. Incredibly beautiful and poignant. Thank you, Patti, for bringing it to us today.

  4. Oh, how beautiful and sad. Thanks for sharing, Patti. I'll say a prayer for the Gulf.

  5. A poignant reminder of what we're doing to the ecosystem. It does break my heart. I love animals. They teach us so much. And to think of this most beautiful creature, dead, it surely does crush my heart.

    And we all must have a heart of caring. And if one doesn't care for the wild things, Then I know they must care for their children and grand children. Providing God lets this world go on.

    This lovely poem only magnifies the dire state we're in. I love it. Maybe folks will get the message.

  6. Thank you for sharing that poem. So touching - I love Mary Oliver. I read one this morning by ee cummings on a similar theme of prodding the earth:

    Poem: "o sweet spontaneous," by E. E. Cummings, from 100 Selected Poems (Grove Weidenfeld).

    o sweet spontaneous

    O sweet spontaneous
    earth how often have
    fingers of
    prurient philosophers pinched
    ,has the naughty thumb
    of science prodded
    beauty how
    often have religions taken
    thee upon their scraggy knees
    squeezing and
    buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
    to the incomparable
    couch of death thy
    thou answerest

    them only with

  7. Oh, Debra, I had just read the headlines about my beloved Louisiana Gulf when I came up here and read your post! Thanks to all of y'all who love the lonely natural places, thanks for your tears and prayers.

  8. Yay, e.e. cummings. I love his poetry. Thanks for adding that JGH.

  9. Beautiful poem, Patti. What do you know, after you commented on my post, I had just come back from a poet speaking at my eighth grader's class and she gave us a Mary Oliver poem!! :-)

  10. Ohh, I do not believe in coincidences! Soooo cool, Jewel!!

    JGH, thanks EVER so much for sharing cummins poem. ANOTHER of my faves--did not know he wrote about environmental issues. Have seen more of his whimsical pieces.


  11. What an incredibly beautiful poem that tugged at my heart strings.

  12. Beautiful, sad poems today. Thanks for sharing such timely and thought-provoking poems.

  13. Sad. I'm so concerned about the gulf shores and this oil leak. Have they plugged the thing yet? No one is saying. Exxon/Valdez all over again.

  14. This is so sad. Thanks for sharing this.

  15. Thank y'all for letting me fog up your cheery Friday.

    Patricia, the oil gushes out as we speak. Supposedly it will take over 30 DAYS to plug the well as it is in the ocean floor.

    Sigh. I wish I knew enough to have an education opinion, but sadness still cloaks me for the wildlife and the local folks who make a living from the Gulf and just flatout enjoy the beauty of God's earth...

  16. So, Patti, how did you end up choosing this poem today?

  17. Dina, I actually had a guest poet, but she must have had some difficulties in getting the stuff to me yesterday so I went with Plan B.

    I am an Earth Activi who adores works about nature. Mary Oliver is my favorite poet, and "Lead" is my favorite poem.

    It packs angst and insight and activism and the very life breath of nature into such a short piece.
    The writing takes my breath away and I'm a sucker for openings with a question, especially such an in-your-face one.

    But...I just has nothing to do with TV!! Sigh.

    This has been one scattered week.

    Forgive me, Inkies.

  18. I'm not sure that there are many great poems about TV, Patti :) Maybe some cheesy ones. I was just curious.

  19. Patti, thanks for sharing a beautiful and poignant poem. I'm sorry to hear about the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. We recently had a tanker run aground on our Great Barrier Reef, and cause a lot of damage to parts of the reef and the surrounding marine life :-(

  20. Ohhh, that makes me want to channel my inner "Vicky Austin" and get the powers that be together for a heart to heart talk...

  21. Narelle, what a tragedy! Oh, The Reef boasts the richest animal life and is a dream destination!

    Hmmm, Cheryl. I had to Google Vicky Austin. A L'Engle character but not in one a book I've read. Will dig deeper. Thank you!!!


  22. Oh, I love the call of the loon. I'm so glad it's the symbol on our one dollar coins. And yes, the poem reminded me of the Gulf oil spill, too.

    Thanks, Patti.

  23. Patti, You know how I love poetry and nature. The last sentence is my favorite, "I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world". Sometimes we have to have a broken heart to notice what we have looked past.

    Blessings to you, love.

  24. Anita Mae, how silly that I DID NOT EVEN KNOW that the loon is on the $1 coin. Slap face here.

    T, so GLAD to have you at the Well.
    Yes, I know your heart from your writing!!!



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