I started to write poetry before I started reading and enjoying it.
Strange, right? I don’t understand it either. Maybe it was the education system, where we did “learn” some poems, but we used to do a logical dissection of the poet’s words, not a discussion. Also, we had poems only from English poets, understandably, due to British colonial influence. So, all my growing up years, I would avoid poetry—I didn’t enjoy it, nor did I believe that I could ever understand the essence completely.
And then, somewhere in my early 30s, sitting alone by the wild Arabian Sea, I wrote a poem—my first poem. I didn’t intend to. I wanted to go into the water but was just so scared of the waves. My friend had bailed on me, so I sat just there in the sand for two hours staring at the sea, notebook in hand—I started writing, and when I saw what I’d written, it was a poem.
But my interest in reading poetry came even later. And I am still being introduced to various amazing poets I had never known about.
I only heard about Mary Oliver on the day she died. I was with my friend, Merry, in California, and there was a lot of sadness around; she was so beloved. Merry recited one of Oliver’s poems to me and I stood there enraptured—she read me Wild Geese and I have been a fan since, not just of her poetry, but of Oliver as a human too.
So, when I found this beautiful rendition of “Wild Geese” in her own voice, I had to share it.
My favorite lines:
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Bonus: “Thousand Mornings” With Poet Mary Oliver