"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

24 October 2006

"The Uses of Sorrow"

from Mary Oliver's new collection of poetry, Thirst.

The Uses of Sorrow
(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

I feel so close to understanding and so far at the same time. The Heavenly Hound, thank Him, is relentless. I want to stop and rest in His wild faithfulness, but I am so often afraid. Yet every taste has always been sweeter than honey.

Oliver writes in the title poem, the book's epilogue: "I was never a quick scholar but sulked / and hunched over my books past the / hour and the bell; grant me, in your / mercy, a little more time."

Oh, for a little more time, to learn Him in humility and love . . .

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