Wednesday, May 06, 2009

now that i'm free...

Feeling slightly less discombobulated...I spent some time yesterday in nature with only the elements and creatures as company. Earlier today I found this very apt poem by one of my favorites, Mary Oliver.

Now that I'm free to be myself, who am I?

Can't fly, can't run, and see how slowly I walk.

Well, I think, I can read books.

"What's that you're doing?"
the green-headed fly shouts as it buzzes past.

I close the book.

Well, I can write down words, like these, softly.

"What's that you're doing?" whispers the wind, pausing
in a heap just outside the window.

Give me a little time, I say back to its staring, silver face.
It doesn't happen all of a sudden, you know.

"Doesn't it?" says the wind, and breaks open, releasing
distillation of blue iris.

And my heart panics not to be, as I long to be,
the empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.

-Mary Oliver from Blue Iris

I'd love to hear what this poem says to you. Personally, I find myself hanging onto the first and last stanzas. Now that I'm free...

10 comments:

SUNRISE SISTER said...

I'm so glad to read reflections from persons in leisure time...no, no, I'm serious! I'm not jealous of your time, I think it's such a gift to be able to use your mind and heart set free into whatever direction you want to go. This poem says to me about freedom - I relish it, I embrace it, I give thanks for it, I will use it wisely.

xoxox

Kate Iredale said...

Beautiful! This speaks to my heart and soul. We are the only ones who can set ourselves free.

Barbara said...

On second reading, I felt so at one with this poem. I, too, in my leisurely retirement, find myself unable to fly, barely able to walk, reading a bit, telling myself that things take time to develop. I am not the pseudo-monastic I dreamed of being when I no longer had the excuse of my teaching obligations and sheer tiredness.
It is a bit of letdown, to put it nicely. Or maybe I am just learning something.

lucy said...

ss--i am having a hard time grasping the freedom of which you speak...but it sounds lovely :-)

kate--so very true, "we are the only ones who can set ourselves free." i know this and wonder why it is so hard to do so much of the time.

barbara--oh yeah, that "learning" thing. i sit here this morning and know there is learning going on for me...and even as i write three little birds have lined up on the balcony as if to say "what's that you're doing?"

thank you all for pondering with me and sharing your own places. xoxo

Karen said...

I kept thinking "yes" as I read it. This is what I'm doing, this is my "journey to authenticity." I had the realization (though I hadn't quite put it in these words) that I am free, that the chains were of my own making--put there by me, but also easily taken away by me. And so then I was left with that corresponding thought--"who am I?"

I know quite know yet. Maybe I'll never know completely. But I'm getting glimpses, and I'm slowly beginning to match the outer and the inner, stopping and asking myself, "what do I like?" "how do I feel about this?" "how can I feel better?"

Beautiful poem, Lucy--I obviously need to make myself better acquainted with Mary Oliver. Thank you.

lucy said...

lovely sharing this journey with you, karen. i think for me it is so often the little "glimpses" that keep me going.

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Hi Lucy -
Me again about your not being able to find the freedom of which I commented. Finding Mary Oliver's poem and relating it to your situation in life at the moment is the freedom of which I speak. It's not a freedom that has taken you to your "next specific challenge".....yet, but it is the freedom to keep on the path and not throw your arms in the air and say I'm nothing, I can't do this searching, wallowing in the freedom - oh my goodness, do you think we're talking control here again? Oh, we have so much to talk about this month:)

I know, I know, I'm just supposed to listen but you prompt me to speak:)

Drop over to CP's place this a.m. he has some thoughts about fear of success which could have dropped out of so many of our favorite authors' heads.....

xoxoxoxoxo

Tess said...

Another treasure of Mary Oliver's - there's so much to discover that despite the poem's line "Give me a little time" which I assume is autobiographical, her work seems more like the wind releasing distillation of blue iris.

Perhaps, like dreams, it is everything, all those components at the same time.

If I were using this poem for Lectio, I would note that there's something about the word "distillation" which says more to me than the others right now.

Tess said...

PS: I meant to say what a beautiful photograph of you.

kigen said...
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