Poetry · Reviews

“Dream Work” by Mary Oliver

“Everywhere in this world his music
explodes out of itself, as he

could not. And now I understand
something so frightening, and wonderful –

how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing
through crossroads, sticking

like lint to the familiar.”

It’s impossible not to notice the differences between Dream Work, Why I Wake Early and Felicity. The feeling is not of growth, in-between the lines you won’t find whispers of evolution. No, Mary Oliver is just as immense across her body of work. What seems to change is the way she perceives, the way she deals with, said immensity.

Dream Work is a deep breath that requires you to close your eyes and forget the world for just one second. Dream Work is the moment when you reopen your eyes to face a new world. Dream Work is rebirth.

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

There’s an odd sense of time… almost as if we are floating in someone’s conscience, where past, present and future all exist on the very same frame.

We start where the river is born. There isn’t too much water, there isn’t yet the pressure or the urgency of having to find a path. Then we reach midcourse. That’s when the fear of losing one’s identity takes shape in speed and sometimes total chaos translated in tides. The goal is to reach the ocean, to become one with it. But what does it mean? Will one stop being for the ocean to be whole?

This book feels like the acceptance of being part of something bigger and still being.

“For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then

the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
‘Don’t love your life
too much’, it said,

and vanished
into the world.”

A journey of self-discovery, understanding, acceptance, respect and forgiveness.

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