Sometimes it takes a death for us to appreciate the way someone’s life has affected, shaped and influenced us. While we mourn their passing, we reflect on the bright spark of their soul, their mark on our lives, and all that their cherished, unique set of quirks and characteristics meant to us.
Hearing that Pulitzer prize-winning poet, Mary Oliver, had passed away was a sad moment for me. Her magnificent poetic word wrangling awes me and has inspired my own poetic endeavours. I will be reading her words again with fresh enjoyment and deep reverence.
It is with Mary Oliver in mind that I wrote the five-minute-friday poem below. It is written in her memory but also to honour all writers and poets, who dare to pen their thoughts and bravely share them with others.
Do not lose heart, dear creative/artist/poet/writer friend. May you know your work is not in vain. Traces of you linger on as influence and legacy. Your words, marks and thoughts have a shape and life of their own.
Your audience, readers and reach might be small, but your heart offering will make its home in those it is intended for. God knows just who that is, and how the words you write and the art you create are a powerful weapon for spreading His love, goodness and grace, His hope and encouragement to others.
A poet wields a pen, not a sword
or a hammer, but her blood pours
out in sweat and tears, wrung
from a deep-seated well within,
from the ache of yearning years.
She might be sharing a personal
insight, a pain expressed, a glimmer
from her arsenal of words,
or a view of the created world,
to open our eyes to its need
to be appreciated, preserved.
Her gift lies in a giving from the heart,
whereby the everyday will begin
to look quite extraordinary
when viewed from her perspective
and via her perceptive lens.
She writes because she must,
because she’s been entrusted
with an unfolding of treasure,
a lifting of the curtain
to reveal the sacred uncertain.
And despite her quiet labour being
publicly shared, she remains
an observer, knowing the work
itself is what fires her heart,
fills her soul and saves her.
The thought of having an influence
on others barely crosses her mind,
because her focus is on the shape,
the sound, the sight of words
moving from head to paper.
Yet the very act of vulnerability itself,
the laying bare seems to open up
her soul, her life as offering,
as gift, as influence and legacy,
and it leaves a deep impression
surviving beyond the ink.
I’m linking my longer than five minutes poem (because sometimes clock-watching doesn’t suit the flow) with the fabulous writing community at our host Kate Motaung’s place. You can join in here with this week’s prompt of ‘influence’ and read the great posts being shared. 🙂