from a collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

—in honor of Mary Oliver (1935-2019), written on the day of her death

You reminded us
how to humble ourselves
before the Great Mother again

to lay down with the deer
in the rain-dampened pines.

You taught us
how to have our weariness lifted by soft renewals
and the caked blood-red dust
washed clean from our eyes
through a flowing green devotion.

Through simple ways
human ways
natural ways,
you gave us a mischievous glance
a knowing nod
and permission

to love what we love
to ache for what we ache
to remain steadfast in our wonderment.

Like the haunting call
of a mourning dove
a rutting buck deep in the wood

curious tiny fingers
gliding astonished
over rainbow scales

a handful of dark soil
reminding something ancient within us
of the promise of seeds and seasons

we were all made
all the better
by you.

In our sudden and terrible orphanhood today,
may we tend the fragile tendril
placed so softly in our keeping.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: The Sentience of Touch / Tactile Ground / Robert Rich

image: Claudia van Zyl

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