Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Though the wind pried with its stiff fingers.

Is there comfort in company?

These are lines from Mary Oliver’s poem The Journey:

though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.

So I gather Mary Oliver knows something about struggling at fundamental levels.

As I have repeated the words over and over, I have asked myself this - does my basic need for company and mutual sharing stretch into the area of suffering? If I am in pain, am I comforted by yours?

Hard questions to answer.


  1. I found your beautiful blog through Beth Kephart's site, and am glad she wrote about you. I'm also a fan of Mary Oliver's poetry, and "The Journey" (along with "Wild Geese") is a favorite of mine.

    I run a weekly poetry appreciation series on my blog, and hope you'll stop in for a visit sometime!

  2. I think we find comfort in each other's human. To know we are all potentially strong, and yet so vulnerable, it is a fortifying thing.

    I'm here by way of Beth. Nice to meet you.


  3. Grete meet Aaron ( post today about poetry mirrors your mission. We're all kindred spirits in love with the craft. As an outloud poetry reader and memorizer, I know the power poetry. Its lyrical, incantatory rhythms can save a soul--or at least it can/does save mine.

    I read in a tweet yesterday that a mere 8% of Americans read poetry--I hope your stats are better in Norway. Perhaps your blog will help lift the number higher at least. I know I'm inspired by your writing.

    (I found your blog via Beth Kephart's post and am thankful for it.)


  4. Cindy -

    Yes, Mary Oliver is a favorite, and a blessing. And thanks for inviting me over to your corner of the virtual world!

    Erin -

    Strong and vulnerable at the same time, that certainly is humanity! And nice to meet you as well!

    Shelly -

    Thanks for directing me to Aaron’s site!
    The power of the poem is undefined, but real. Yet so many people find poetry difficult, or uninteresting, or irrelevant or..... I suspect a reason for our prejudices is largely due to us reading with the wrong part of our brains. Somehow we tend to mistake a poem for a mathematical riddle.....

    I am not sure the exact number of Norwegians reading poetry, but I would not be surprised at a figure like yours. And I am not sure Norwegians read this blog. It is after all in English :-) Perhaps I should make a Norwegian version....