Yesterday, as I paged through a nice collection of Mary Oliver’s poetry, Devotions, I found a poem, published in 2008, that characterizes the state of our nation and our world better than countless learned articles that attempt to explain us to ourselves.
OF THE EMPIRE by Mary Oliver
“We will be known as a culture that feared death
and adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity
for the few and cared little for the penury of the
many. We will be known as a culture that taught
and rewarded the amassing of things, that spoke
little if at all about the quality of life for
people (other people), for dogs, for rivers. All
the world, in our eyes, they will say, was a
commodity. And they will say that this structure
was held together politically, which it was, and
they will say also that our politics was no more
than an apparatus to accomodate the feelings of
the heart, and that the heart, in those days,
was small, and hard, and full of meanness.”
Oooh I love Mary Oliver.
Re-posted on my blog site https://pondblog2011.com/ and thanks.
Reblogged this on Life and Day to Day things by a Pond Lover and commented:
This poem describes the current situation perfectly. Thank you Mary Oliver.
Yes, it just clearly and simply states it for us.
I do too.
She sure nailed it!
I do love Mary Oliver’s poetry. So succinct and beautiful. Thanks for sharing this one.
I was quite moved by this poem, for its simplicity in summing up our world …….but ….she doesn’t allow for transcending music. Made me think of Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Seventh Seal’ where the only survvors are he artists. thanksfor posting..
That’s interesting Edie – I’m not sure I see the parallel to Seventh Seal. Increasingly it seems to me that survival is going to be a bottoms up kind of thing – awakening creativity as well as tolerance in each of us, for clearly we can’t depend on it flowing down from the oligarchs. Kind of a hundred monkey/tipping point kind of thing as people begin to look, think, react, and start to live differently.