ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE

What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life? After holding this lovely phrase in my head for a year or two I found out who wrote it: Pulitzer prize winner Mary Oliver in her poem The Summer Day.  Some mornings I woke up and there it was in my mind like a challenge.

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

Here are some of my favorites of her wonderful words:

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver

“To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”
Mary Oliver

imagesHere’s another excerpt I relate to:

“Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable…

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way … as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit…motionless until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable…”

wildgeeseHer most famous is perhaps WILD GEESE (excerpted):

“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.”

For more go to: http://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/maryoliver.html#anchor_14792

Do you have a favorite poet, poem – or just a line that sticks in your head?

The Times They Are A’Changin

I have always thought Bob Dylan’s lyrics were “literary” – ever since I first heard him as a teenager, maybe with the “Times they are a’changing.” The Swedish Academy has redefined the boundaries of literature. Yes he is a poet and I’m glad to hear he was honored with a Nobel Prize. His own mentors ranged from Shakespeare to Woody Guthrie and of course Welsh poet Dylan Thomas from whom he took his name.

images

I owned this album…

Here are some of My favorites:                                                                                                          (add one of your own in the comments below)

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
     There must be some way out of here (All along the watchtower)                  It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
Love Is Just a Four-Letter-Word
Blowin’ In The Wind

bd-w-jb

with Joan Baez who popularized many of his songs

Dylans’ lyrics usually tell a STORY and are thus hard to condense but here are a few anyway.

How many roads must a man walk down, Before you call him a man? Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head, And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

I don’t want to fake you out, Take or shake or forsake you out,
I ain’t lookin’ for you to feel like me, See like me or be like me.
All I really want to do, Is baby be friends with you…1964

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need,
….In the fury of the moment I can see the Master’s hand
In every leaf that trembles, In every grain of sand…1981

You that build all the bombs, You that hide behind walls,
You that hide behind desks… I can see through your masks – …Masters Of War’ – 1963

So when you see your neighbour carryin’ somethin’/Help him with his load,  And don’t go mistaking Paradise/For that home across the road… The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest‘ – 1967

bd

Better known for his scowl- this is a rare picture of him smiling for the camera!

He’s been nominated more than once or twice in the past for the Nobel. My take on that is that in a previous generation he could not be taken seriously, nor could the Academy see poetry in lyrics.  Many of the people who nominated him today however belong to Dylan’s generation and see him as the voice of that generation. Dylan is of course the first songwriter to have won the prize and there has already been a huge amount of negative reaction to the Award. True to his inscrutable personality, the music legend has not (of yet?) made any public comment. That also makes me smile. What do you think?