The Meditation of Reading a Poem
by Joan Myles
What is it about poetry that so readily connects readers with their spiritual selves?
Is it the access it provides to imagination? Is it the use of metaphor and simile that enables us to think outside the physical box? Is it the expansive qualities of mind such modes of thinking enliven?
Take a few deep breaths and slowly read the following poem by Mary Oliver (1935-2019) .Let the words carry you away andseehow far you fly.
Seven White Butterflies
by Mary Oliver
Seven white butterflies
delicate in a hurry look
how they bang the pages
of their wings as they fly
to the fields of mustard yellow
and orange and plain
gold all eternity
is in the moment this is what
Blake said what Whitman said such
wisdom in the agitated
motions of the mind seven
even as worms toward
paradise see how they banter
and riot and rise
to the trees flutter
lob their white bodies into
the invisible wind weightless
to deliver themselves unto
the universe now each settles
down on a yellow thumb on a
brassy stem now
all seven are rapidly sipping
from the golden towers who
would have thought it could be so easy?
Did you feel yourself carried into the scene–almost transformed into a fluttering being yourself?
Did you hear a deeper message apart from the words and images on the page?
Now go back and read the poem without pausing at line ends or stanza breaks.
*I’ll wait for you*
Did you feel the rush and ecstasy of discovery?
Did you experience the fulfillment and peace of sipping alongside your lofty fellows?
Did you find the delight of realization with the final question?
I would love to know your thoughts and your experience with this poem
Please feel free to share them with me in the comments or at the contact page.
Wishing you sweetness and fanciful flight,
Poetry and I go way back. Nursery rhymes, Dr. Seuss, limricks and ballads–my interest and involvement expanded year by year until finally I came to hear poems everywhere. Poetic rhythms soothe and uplift me. Poetic imagery and freedom of language excite my imagination. And poetry’s almost magical lilt and layering of the sensible with the elusive awaken my understanding and appreciation of Life.
You might say poety sings my spirit.
Of course my favorite poets shift as I evolve. Most recently, I resonate with Mary Oliver’s simple words and startling phrases. She never fails to bring me back to Creation, to Spirit, to myself. And when I want a jolt, an out-of-myself into who-knows-where experience I turn to Roberto Juarroz with his symbolic imagery and obtuse view of reality.
For me, poetry is not just a way to express myself. Poetry is where I dwell. And writing a poem is simply exhaling what I receive with each breath of Life I am given.
What could be sweeter!