Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: The Departed

As many of you must have come to know, the Pulitzer-prize winning poet Mary Oliver passed away last week at the age of 83. She leaves behind a treasure trove of more than 15 poetry and essay collections and a legacy that is going to last for many generations to come. As we remember the much-loved poet, I am sharing her elegy to her soulmate, Molly Malone Cook, which captures the nature of a human relationship in such an empathetic and curious voice — can we really say that we know someone in their entirety?:

THE WHISTLER

All of a sudden she began to whistle. By all of a sudden
I mean that for more than thirty years she had not
whistled. It was thrilling. At first I wondered, who was
in the house, what stranger? I was upstairs reading, and
she was downstairs. As from the throat of a wild and
cheerful bird, not caught but visiting, the sounds war-
bled and slid and doubled back and larked and soared.

Finally I said, Is that you? Is that you whistling? Yes, she
said. I used to whistle, a long time ago. Now I see I can
still whistle. And cadence after cadence she strolled
through the house, whistling.

I know her so well, I think. I thought. Elbow and an-
kle. Mood and desire. Anguish and frolic. Anger too.
And the devotions. And for all that, do we even begin
to know each other? Who is this I’ve been living with
for thirty years?

This clear, dark, lovely whistler?

Cook, Molly Malone, and Mary Oliver. Our World. Beacon Press, 2009.

I would like to remember David Bowie as well who passed away in the month of January two years back. There is something so tragic about this time when the light either feels too sharp or too dim and everything seems to be jostling for space as plans are made, truths laid out bare, dreams relinquished in favour of destiny, as we look ahead to the many months to come and mark our bodies and souls with the ash of time.



This is Anmol (alias HA) with a rather somber note but please don't mind me. We have a wonderful week ahead full of poetics and we shall start it with certain gratefulness for all that such artists and poets have given to us. For The Tuesday Platform, link up one poem, old or new, to the linking widget down below. Do not forget to visit other poets and share your thoughts with them. Happy Tuesday!


13 comments:

Anmol (HA) said...

Happy Tuesday, poets! I wish you all a beautiful week ahead.
It's been raining here for the last two days, creating this picturesque scene bedecked with shades of grey and red. I look forward to reading and cherishing your words just like I cherish this weather. ๐Ÿ˜„❤️

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Thank you for hosting us, Anmol ๐Ÿ˜Š it is indeed tragic when artists and poets who have inspired billions are no longer among us.
It's been raining here too ๐Ÿ˜Š so I can relate to the feeling of joy๐Ÿ’ž I just love the rain!☕

Timoteo said...

Good morning Toads! The forecast says it will be raining poetry!

said...

I love that ending SO much:

"Who is this I’ve been living with
for thirty years?

This clear, dark, lovely whistler?"

~Shawna

rallentanda said...

This is a beautiful poem and the very first I have read by Mary Oliver.

Jim said...

A nice poem, it rattled me a bit. The one I lived with for 13 years I didn't know her so well as I thought. She up and left for another. This second go around has put up with me 40 some years.
I am repeating Saturday's (tribute to Mary Oliver) and Friday's ("a creature we never have seen) works as they were slow days. I hope that's okay.
Thank you, HA, nice selection.
..

Sherry Marr said...

Thanks for hosting, Anmol. I had linked my poem to Mary Oliver before I read your introduction, so this is timely. She is my favourite poet. I love the way she truly SAW the beauty of the world, and helped us to see it, too.

brudberg said...

What a lovely piece... and I do love that question... do ever know someone...

Kim Russell said...

Thank you for hosting and for sharing the poem, Anmol. It's freezing over here and I'm keeping an eye on the log burner - I don't want it to go out - so I'm running between rooms. Both cats are keeping warm with me. I'm looking forward to some 'warming' poems.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Thanks for hosting. The world is a lesser place for the two you herein honor.

Herotomost said...

Happy Tuesday, hope all of you are doing fabulous and enjoying the New Year!!!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I was so profoundly affected by Lazarus when it first came out, and a well-timed invitation to view it again. Thanks for that, Anmol.
I am falling behind on my weekly output, as the rigours of work take up so much of my spare time, but hope to return later in the week to read.

Frank J. Tassone said...

Evening Toads! Better late than never, right? Thanks, Anmol, for the commemoration of Mary Oliver!