Word pools and Word pooling: Mary Oliver's Moccasin Flowers!
Submitted by Janet Lewison on 01 May 2011
All my life, so far, I have loved more than one thing, including the mossy hooves of dreams, including' the spongy litter under the tall trees. In spring the moccasin flowers reach for the crackling lick of the sun and burn down. Sometimes, in the shadows, I see the hazy eyes, the lamb-lips of oblivion, its deep drowse, and I can imagine a new nothing in the universe, the matted leaves splitting open, revealing the black planks of the stairs. But all my life--so far-- I have loved best how the flowers rise and open, how the pink lungs of their bodies enter the fore of the world and stand there shining and willing--the one thing they can do before they shuffle forward into the floor of darkness, they become the trees. We live in a noisy world full of words that can deafen our respect for silence and that inside calm. The media saturates our senses with dramatic language designed to intensify every slight experience so that in the end, we can no longer find a balance between the transitory and dispsoable and the affecting. Hyperbole is a disease of our time. It has lost its capacity for impact and surprise. Archness or wit now surrendered to a jumpy hysteria framed by 'so' where superlatives collapse under the weight of their overuse. I found this poem today or perhaps the poem found me, for words do find us and this poem discovers for us the richness of the unexpected, of the imagination at play, where our more natural child like capacity for wonder rennames the world anew. These word pools of 'mossy hooves' and 'spongy litter under the tall trees' are deeply suggestive of sensory experience uncensored or diluted by cliche and second hand thoughts. Death or sleep 'lamb-lips of oblivion' take us wandering away from the well trodden daily paths of thought and fear. We are shown the natural evolution of movement between being here and not being here, and how we all will not be here one day, but that not being here is no more natural than being here. And our eventaul 'shuffle..into the floor of darkness' should never prevent our becoming trees! Restores our faith in ourselves, our world and our words. Moccasin flowers about our head and feet!