Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Shaping a life
I don't have as much time for poetry these days as I would like, but In a Dark Time provides me with the occasional touch of wonder at the beauty of language. Some time ago I found a poem there, one that expresses one of my deepest fears. This sensation has shaped my life. The poem reads like a curse, and for as long as I can remember, this is one curse I have wanted to avoid:


I believe you did not have a happy life.
I believe you were cheated.
I believe your best friends were loneliness and misery.
I believe your busiest enemies were anger and depression.
I believe joy was a game you could never play without stumbling.
I believe comfort, though you craved it, was forever a stranger.
I believe music had to be melancholy or not at all.
I believe no trinket, no precious metal, shone so bright as your bitterness.
I believe you lay down at last in your coffin none the wiser and unassuaged.
Oh, cold and dreamless under the wild, amoral, reckless, peaceful flowers of the hillsides.

By Mary Oliver, by way of Loren

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