Saturday, June 10, 2006

Celebrating June

Here's a really wonderful poem that brings us to mindfulness about the season:

Honey Locust

Who can tell how lovely in June is the
honey locust tree, or why
a tree should be so sweet and live
in this world? Each white blossom
on a dangle of white flowers holds one green seed—
a new life. Also each blossom on a dangle of flowers
holds a flask
of fragrance called Heaven, which is never sealed.
The bees circle the tree and dive into it. They are crazy
with gratitude. They are working like farmers. They are as
happy as saints. After awhile the flowers begin to
wilt and drop down into the grass. Welcome
shines in the grass.

Every year I gather
handfuls of blossoms and eat of their mealiness; the honey
melts in my mouth, the seeds make me strong,
both when they are crisp and ripe, and even at the end
when their petals have turned dull yellow.

So it is
if the heart has devoted itself to love, there is
not a single inch of emptiness. Gladness gleams
all the way to the grave.

From New and Selected Poems, Volume Two by Mary Oliver

"Gladness gleams/all the way to the grave." Isn't that wonderful? This truly is the payoff for having a disciplined meditative practice. We learn to live in gladness all of our life - until the very moment of death.

The above poem represents a contemplation exercise. Through meditative and contemplative practices we learn to notice our surroundings in both a deep and detailed way. Mary Oliver models this for us. What a delight she is!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:46 PM

    Did the author not notice the very sharp thorns of the honey locust tree? I wonder how they would fit into the contemplation. Maybe, it would be that all things--even the pleasant, the beneficial, and the beautiful come with a price. Sometimes the price is worth what we receive in the end. Maybe, we just ignore the price because we don't want to admit there is a price to be paid for all things--even those things which are good, beneficial, and beautiful.
    Carolyn L.


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