Popular Poet Takes Comfort in Jesus

Painting by Sieger Koder

Painting by Sieger Koder

When Mary Oliver died recently, I retrieved her book Thirst (2007), which combines nature, grief, and finding faith through the Church which she discovered in the midst of her sorrow after losing her long-time partner. She does not appear to have a background in any religion which, I think, aids her childlike wonder combined with some adult maturity as she meanders her way. Below are some of the poems I like. I once heard that aligning our sufferings with those of Jesus can help to transform them. The last poem, in particular, reminds me of this. The poems are full of reality and compassion.

Eileen Gaughan

The Uses of Sorrow (sleep I dreamed this poem)                                      

Someone I loved once gave me

a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.

After her Death.

I am trying to find the lesson

for tomorrow. Matthew something.

Which lectionary?. I have not

forgotten the Way, but, a little,

the way to the Way. The trees keep whispering

peace, peace, and the birds in the shallows are full of the

bodies of small fish and are

content. They open their wings

so easily, and fly. So. It is still possible.

I open the book

which the strange, difficult, beautiful church

has given me. To Matthew.  Anywhere.

The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside

Our Church: The Eucharist.

Something has happened

to the bread

and the wine

They have been blessed.

What now?

The body leans forward

to receive the gift

from the priests hand,

then the chalice.

They are something else now

from what they were

before this began.

I want

to see Jesus,

maybe in the clouds

or on the shore,

just walking,

beautiful man

and clearly

someone else


On the hard days

I ask myself

if I ever will.

Also there are times

my body whispers to me

that I have

Some Links to Try

Have you seen Ronald Rolheiser’s blog? RonRolheiser.com

Marie O’Donovan sends this link on Lent and climate change: LivingLent.org

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