Poetry · Reviews

“House of Light” by Mary Oliver

House of Light. I find the title to be beyond appropriate for this particular collection of poems. This book does house light, and it slips through the cracks that make it a home, hand in hand with hope.

“I want to believe that imperfections are nothing –
that the light is everything – that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.”

Mary Oliver reminds us that pain is not the only thing to cause dents in the sculpture our soul habits. Love, as well as joy, opens wounds; wonder leaves scars behind. Are these faults, though? Are these flaws? It depends on how you choose to look at them.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

I adore how her poetry seems to refuse to move on, how it seems not to even accept it as a possibility. Instead, it introduces the idea of carrying on.

This collection of poetry thrives on what we would perhaps call the ingenuity of some of the creatures we share this world with. Mary Oliver paints them, reveals them to us, as an example to perhaps follow.

“they beat their muscular wings,
they dream of flying
for another million years

over the water,
over the ferns,over the world’s roughage
as it bleeds and deepens.”

They go on, even though they know not what to expect. Whatever happens, happens. They deal with it as it comes, one step at a time. They don’t dwell on what ifs. They embrace what they are, who they are, and that’s exactly whom they embody, no fear of repercussions.

“Have you ever found something beautiful and maybe just in time?”

It’s such a stunning and tender way of looking at the world.


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