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[Poetry Friday] “Maybe Death Isn’t Darkness After All, But So Much Light Wrapping Itself Around Us”

Mary Oliver's "Owls And Other Fantasies."

Myra here.

I am glad to be joining Poetry Friday this week, hosted by long-time blogging friend, Tabatha Yeatts from The Opposite of Indifference. While we are able to keep up with our usual posts (relatively difficult for me with my international move), I know that we have not been doing as well with visiting our blogging friends’ sites, apologies for that. Once I have found my footing here in the Middle East, I am hoping that things will go back to my usual blogging routine.


Owls And Other Fantasies (Amazon | Book Depository)

Poems and Essays By Mary Oliver
Published by Beacon Press (2006, first published 2003)
ISBN: 0807068756 (ISBN13: 9780807068755). Borrowed from National Library Singapore Overdrive. Book photos taken by me and edited with an iPhone app.

When Mary Oliver died early this year, I made sure that I borrowed practically all of her poetry books via Singapore’s National Library Board Overdrive. I read this book while we were in the US with family in July. I recall vividly that I was reading it while we were on a weekend camping trip at Coloma Resort in California.

The crystal clear lake and all the greens provided the perfect backdrop while I was reading Mary Oliver’s poems – a veritable shaman when it comes to weaving words that provide a tribute to nature and all its beneficence.

Look at that perfect view while having breakfast. This is a photo of my teenage daughter and my sister-in-law’s gracious and ever-hospitable husband.

I remember reading two poems aloud to my husband while we were looking at the lake, and telling him that these are the poems I want to be read when I am buried. Morbid much, right? (But perfect for our Halloween offering today, hehe). As I was reading the poems aloud, I found myself ugly-crying. The poems were fairly simple enough and straightforward, yet Mary Oliver somehow does things to me that defy explanation, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Perhaps it is the combination of the view, me reading the words aloud, and the knowledge that in a few weeks’ time, we will be leaving the only home we have known for the past eleven years and moving to a totally unfamiliar place we have never been to before. Regardless, these poems found me at the perfect time. I hope that they move you just as much.


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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

6 comments on “[Poetry Friday] “Maybe Death Isn’t Darkness After All, But So Much Light Wrapping Itself Around Us”

  1. Oh, these poems are so beautiful. Thanks for the share. And best of luck in settling into your new life so far away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Each one is beautiful, Myra. I too wish you a move that works well all the way into your new home and life. I have one memory of a great horned owl coming in very close to our car while driving in the country. My husband swerved, thinking it was going to strike but at the last moment, it swooped away. We saw it in all its strength, saw the face. That was years ago, but I won’t forget. Thanks for sharing more from Mary Oliver!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful poems (and photos), Myra. I tried to describe something similar to what Mary talks about in the first poem to my younger daughter recently and she was unconvinced. I’d better show her the poem and see if she finds MO more convincing. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kay Jernigan McGriff

    Mary Oliver does have a way of digging straight to the heart with her observations of nature. These two poems are beautiful. Good luck settling into you new home. We are doing the same thing, though we did not move nearly as far (just across the state, not to an entirely new country and culture).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good luck with your move Myra.
    Once while some friends and I were hiking along a dirt road by a river, we came upon a snowy owl. It’s head swivelled as it watched us approach, then rotated as we, in total awe, hiked past it. It was like being given a sacred gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for these rich poems by Mary Oliver, she’s a favorite of mine–I think she did have wings, and she’s taken us so many places… All the best with your settling in, and perhaps a badminton court will emerge in some form or another, thanks Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

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