I've been eyeing Mary Oliver's book A Thousand Mornings since it first came out sometime last year. A Thousand Mornings...I've thought, thinking of my mornings here, of how, when I have them, they're a prayer and a meditation and a way to start my day in peace. I also kept thinking--look, someone like me, who do-doubt wakes too early.
I don't often buy hardcover books, but yesterday after a ridiculously expensive dentist appointment I took the gift certificate my grandfather--lover of birds and songs and mornings--gave me to the bookstore and went and bought A Thousand Mornings.
I love it. My friend Doug, a poet who I respect, does not love Oliver's work. But I will say right here that I do. I think she is completely honest with her words, and that honesty is rare, and a true gift to one's reader. Mary Oliver is also old now, and death hovers at the edges of each of these poems, giving them urgency and dusting them with grace. She is wise and worships the same god I do; these poems are deeply spiritual odes to the sweet earth. When I am old I hope to be as wise as her, and as graciously humble. And now, a poem about the time of day we both love:
A Thousand Mornings
All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night
meets and then is overwhelmed by
morning, the light deepening, the
wind easing and just waiting, as I
too wait (and when have I ever been
disappointed?) for redbird to sing.