The Ponds, by Mary Oliver

Update

In a moment of sad synchronicity, only a few hours after I posted this I found out that Mary Oliver is seriously ill. Writers and poets are sharing their stories about how her work has influenced them, and sending their blessings and prayers. I know many Druids and Pagans are also familiar with her work and have been touched by her vision and love of nature. Please take a few moments today to express your love and gratitude for an amazing woman, and consider sharing your story with her by sending her an open letter.


In honor of our first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife, I wanted to share the poem that Jeff and I had read at our wedding.

Bride & Groom
Photography by Matt Lusk

The Ponds

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them—

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided—
and that one wears an orange blight—
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away—
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.

Mary Oliver

Happy Valentine’s Day! May you and your loved ones overlook the crass consumerism and Prisoner’s Dilemma romance of the day to celebrate the joy, gratitude and love in your lives.

Wedding Ceremony - The Kiss
Photography by Matt Lusk

Alison Leigh Lilly
Alison Leigh Lilly nurtures the earth-rooted, sea-soaked, mist-and-mystic spiritual heritage of her Celtic ancestors, exploring themes of peace, poesis and wilderness through essays, articles, poetry and podcasting. You can learn more about her work here.

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