Morning Poem (by Mary Oliver)
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
And if your spirit
carries within it
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —
each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.
” . . . Whether or not you have ever dared to pray.”
I love Mary’s poetry. She has a way of painting a picture with the reader square in the middle of the scene. Here, it is morning. We see the rising sun, the trees, the pond, the lilies. There is the happy person swimming through the lilies or the one who is burdened with life’s circumstance, trudging along carrying the heavy “thorn.”
And, even if one is focused on the drudgery of existence and cannot see it, there is that voice within–that beast–that knows that this morning brings exactly what it needs, “Whether or not.”
Even if we don’t notice it around us, even if we have never thought we were worthy, even if we have never dared to pray, the morning arrives in all its glorious splendour.
As the writer of the Book of Lamentations penned:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; [God’s] mercies never come to an end–they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”
The new day lies open before us.
Whether or not we have ever dared to pray.