Mary Oliver is best known for poetry that celebrates the natural world. This subject is certainly treated in the 82-year-old poet’s most recent book, Felicity, particularly in the book’s first section Journey. Here are poems that connect the beauty of wild roses to the spiritual and that consider trees talking to the sun. The second section of the book, however, is called Love and these poems address a topic as magnificent and mysterious as anything else in nature, romantic love.
From the thrill of the start of a romance in The First Day to the poem, I have Just Said, which expresses gratitude for many happy years in a mature relationship, the poems are filled with Oliver’s trademark joy and immediacy. In most of Oliver’s poems there is an underlying exhortation to wake up, to open our hearts and minds and to experience fully the splendor and wonder of the world. The love poems have this same flavor. There is no cynicism, no holding back, no playing it safe. Instead there is humor, bliss, exuberance and the wistful pleasure of memory.
Felicity is a small book, only 81 pages. The poems are short and accessible, yet, they transport the reader into the heart of nature and into the depths of our own hearts.
This and That
In this early dancing of a new day –
dogs leaping on the beach,
dolphins leaping not far from shore –
someone is bending over me,
is kissing me slowly.