Why do we commit our work? Why do we perform? It is above all for the entertainment and transformation of the people. It is all for them. The song asked for nothing. The creator of the song asked for nothing. So why should I ask for anything?
–Patti Smith writing of her Nobel Prize performance in The New Yorker
Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.
So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful. That the gift has been given.
–Mary Oliver, “The Gift” from Felicity
“I wonder now about Demeter and Persephone. Maybe Persephone was glad to run off with the king of death to his underground realm, maybe it was the only way she could break away from her mother, maybe Demeter was a bad parent the way Lear was a bad parent, denying nature, including the nature of children to leave their parents. Maybe Persephone thought Hades was the infinitely cool older man who held the knowledge she sought, maybe she loved the darkness, the six months of winter, the sharp taste of pomegranates, the freedom from her mother, maybe she knew that to be truly alive death had to be part of the picture just as winter must. It was as the queen of hell that she became an adult and came into power. Hades’s realm is called the underworld, and so are the urban realms of everything outside the law. And as in Hopi creation myths, where humans and other beings emerge from underground, so it’s from the underground that culture emerges in this civilization.”
― Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
What if you could almost literally get a look at the path not taken? What if you could consider the differences between the teen you and the adult you in stark contrast? Would you regret the choices you made? Would you change your life?
–Brian Tallerico reviews Blue Jay
No I’d never been to this country
before. No, I didn’t know where the roads
would lead me. No, I didn’t intend to
–Mary Oliver, “No I’d Never Been to This Country,” from Felicity
I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs;
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway,
what’s wrong with Maybe?
You wouldn’t believe what once or
twice I have seen. I’ll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.
–Mary Oliver, “The World I live In,” from Felicity