Poem-A-Day 2021: Day 1, Mary Oliver

Welcome back to National Poetry Month! Tonight I will be hosting the inaugural poetry reading of a new series entitled The Mutable Hour, by Mutabilis Press. We have an amazing line-up of poets who will be reading tonight, and if you’d like to attend this virtual event, let me know ASAP. It’s on Zoom and I can hook you up with the link if you give me your email address. The second reading will be April 29th, in case you can’t make it tonight.

Here on Sappho’s Torque, I like to feature a different poem each day every April in celebration of the wide and marvelous world of poetry. We’re kicking things off this year with one from Mary Oliver, which serves as an excellent reminder to me — and maybe also to you — that there is beauty and happiness in the world, and when it knocks on your door, you should let it in and give it a comfortable place to sit, and when you have the chance to create it for someone else, then by all means, do so. I especially love Oliver’s last sentence.

Don’t Hesitate

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Mary Jane Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019) was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is inspired by nature, rather than the human world, stemming from her lifelong passion for solitary walks in the wild. It is characterized by a sincere wonderment at the impact of natural imagery, conveyed in unadorned language. In 2007 she was declared to be the country’s best-selling poet. (This biographical information is quoted from Wikipedia.)

If you’d like to see the Poem-A-Day lists from previous years, click on the following and then follow the crumbs to each day in April of each year. 

April 2020 — https://sapphostorque.com/2020/04/01/poem-a-day-me-but-also-all-of-us/

April 2019 — https://sapphostorque.com/2019/04/01/poem-a-day-2019-mary-oliver/

April 2018 — https://sapphostorque.com/2018/04/01/poem-a-day-robin-reagler/

April 2017 — https://sapphostorque.com/2017/04/01/poem-a-day-paula-billups/

April 2016 — https://sapphostorque.com/2016/04/01/national-poetry-month-day-1/

April 2015 — https://sapphostorque.com/2015/04/01/women-writers-wednesday-4115/

April 2014 — https://sapphostorque.com/2014/04/01/in-honor-of-national-poetry-month-this-year/

If you’d like this Poem-A-Day delivered right to your inbox for this whole month (and all the other wonderfulness on this blog the rest of the time), subscribe.  🙂

4 thoughts on “Poem-A-Day 2021: Day 1, Mary Oliver

  1. I love this. In personal terms, I’m trying to allow myself to enjoy my mental health highs without spending the whole time bracing for a fall. In social terms, I’m trying to enjoy the Biden years without dreading the next election cycle. Maybe this will clear up enough head space to let me/us find solutions and ways to keep the good times rolling.

    Liked by 1 person

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