|A funeral for a mouse - my niece and nephews and Abby in 2012|
She was 83. And she lived a remarkable life as a poet.
I'm not going to say I'm devastated or heartbroken by her death; I didn't know her personally. Her poetry, however, meant a great deal to me, as it did to thousands of others, and that is how she lives on. What a legacy she has left us.
I quote her in two separate essays in my Field Notes book. The opening to the essay, "Funeral For a Mouse," pays tribute:
There are very few lines from Mary Oliver's poetry that don't make me gasp. An American poet in her eighties, who is, as I write this sentence [in 2016], living and publishing, Mary Oliver astounds poetry lovers -- and makes people love poetry -- because she writes simply and profoundly about the natural world...
Likely, no matter what situation you are facing -- what loss you are enduring, what hope you are clinging to -- Mary Oliver has a poem, or a line, for you.
At the end of that essay, I end up paraphrasing one of her poems to suit the story, which was indeed a funeral for a mouse.
And in the essay, "A Walk In the Woods", I weave lines from her poems, "How I Go To the Woods" into my story about discovering this new land I'd married into -- my husband's acreage along the River Philip in rural Nova Scotia.
There will be a lot of Mary Oliver in the air tonight -- her spirit and her words -- as people read her poems out loud in tribute of a wonderful and cherished writer whose decades of work had incredible impact.
|The trail through the plantation that inspired the essay about walking in the woods|