Mary Oliver’s poem, The Loon, may leave you suspended, like the poet in the early morning

To get a feeling for what Mary Oliver heard and how it affected her, listen to this video, Voices: Common Loon, before reading her poem, The Loon.

                                   THE LOON

Not quite four a.m., when the rapture of being alive
strikes me from sleep, and I rise
from the comfortable bed and go
to another room, where my books are lined up
in their neat and colorful rows. How

magical they are! I choose one
and open it. Soon
I have wandered in over the waves of the words
to the temple of thought.

…………………………………And then I hear
outside, over the actual waves, the small,
perfect voice of the loon. He is also awake,
and with his heavy head uplifted he calls out
to the fading moon, to the pink flush
swelling in the east that, soon,
will become the long, reasonable day.

……………………………………………….Inside the house
it is still dark, except for the pool of lamplight
in which I am sitting.

……………………………I do not close the book.

Neither, for a long while, do I read on.

 

— Mary Oliver, What Do We Know (2002), Devotions (2017)

See this remembrance of Mary Oliver with links to more of her poems.

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5 Responses to “Mary Oliver’s poem, The Loon, may leave you suspended, like the poet in the early morning”

  1. RIP: Mary Oliver. Thank you for sharing your poetic gifts with us. They are a national treasure! | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Summer Day, At the Lake, One, White Owl Flies Into And Out Of The Field, Sunrise, The Loon, and When Death Comes, which was included here in her obituary posted on Jan 17, […]

    Like

  2. Mary Oliver’s transcendent experience At the Lake, put into words, might leave you breathless | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Praying, Wild Geese, Sunrise, White Owl Flies Into And Out Of The Field, The Journey, One, The Loon, and When Death Comes, which was included in her obituary Jan 17, […]

    Like

  3. moorezart Says:

    Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim Langley Says:

    Ken, I have been loving following your blog posts since we first corresponded about grief. You were so supportive, and after 3 years, my grief book comes out next month…April, being national poetry month, I am doubly excited!. Thanks for posting this poem. I have read a lot of Mary Oliver, but I have never seen this particular poem and I love it. Grateful for your writing encouragement, and for the time that you put into these posts. I am a fan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ken Chawkin Says:

      Thanks, Kim, and congratulations on completing and publishing your grief book! It must feel good to have done that! Seems appropriate to come out next month. What’s the title? You’ll have to send me the link to it.

      Like

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