In "Roses, Late Summer," Mary Oliver asks
to the leaves after
they turn red and golden and fall
Do you think there is any
for any of us?
Do you think anyone,
the other side of that darkness,
will call to us, meaning us?
Then she describes the way the foxes and the roses simply go on about their lives and concludes
If I had another life
I would want to spend it all on some
I would be a fox, or a tree
full of waving branches.
I wouldn't mind being a rose
in a field full of roses.
Fear has not yet occured to them, nor ambition.
Reason they have not yet thought of.
Neither do they ask how long they must be roses, and then what.
Or any other foolish question.
Of course one thinks of Matthew and the lilies that neither spin nor toil. I can't imagine Oliver really wants to be mindless, not having the very human questions about the soul which she is always posing, but I understand her desire to learn to simply live, not constantly questioning and wondering, but knowing one's place and filling it with joy and abandon and without doubt and rebellion.
This poem reminds me of Tony Esolen's post at Mere Comments that I linked a few days ago, about needing to understand and accept our place in the world, the place God has given us. Of course, it's a fallen world and surely some of our angst comes from seeing that sin does affect who we are and what our circumstances are, causing us to doubt. But is God really sovereign or not? Does sin (generally speaking) keep Him from placing us where He wants us, or is it sin (my personal sin of hubris and discontentment) that keeps me from seeing this fundamental truth?
I, too, would like to be like the roses, not asking foolish questions.