Friday, November 20, 2009

Mary Oliver: In Blackwater Woods

My niece, Emily, would have been thirteen years old yesterday. Her family hosted a purple balloon release at her gravesite.  I couldn't be there, but this poem by Mary Oliver is the balloon I'm releasing today.

Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned


  1. Oh, oh. This one made me cry...

  2. Oh Sara. Sniff. Reaching for tissues. I love this poem, and it's perfect for remembering Emily.

    I hope you, your brother, and your brother's family are holding up. Hugs.

  3. Sara, a lovely balloon poem to release. Thinking of you this day...these anniversaries of our beloved people who no longer walk the earth are always difficult. Hugs.

  4. What a perfect poem to release today! Thanking of you and your brother's family.♥

  5. What a beautifully elegiac verse. Thank you for sharing it, and sharing today with us.

    Thinking of you, as you race to your writing finish line.

  6. Oh, Sara. I missed your post from August 18, and just went back and read it now. Had I known last Saturday, I would have given you a few extra hugs. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  7. Oh My Lord. I need to take a break now and go cry.

  8. Oh, Sara, I'm so sorry. In tears here. I'm behind in so many ways, and I didn't know about the loss of Emily. What a beautiful poem for today; it's one I love. I'm sorry you had to live it this way.

    A hug for you, and your family, and a smile at the thought of Emily's greeting. :)

    As a Catholic, of course I believe that the saints in heaven pray for us -- I always picture the babies I've lost standing on a precipice, watching me down here, and cheering me on through the rest of the race. Emily, and the babies, and everyone else who finds it so coolio up there ... they're in such good hands. But it's so hard to be the ones left behind.

    Hugs for you, dear Sara.

  9. What a painful, important, joyful, sorrowful celebration and remembrance. Like Karen said, it's so hard for the ones who are left behind.


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