The Leaf And The Cloud: A Poem Paperback – 17 Oct 2001
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About the Author
Mary Oliver is the author of twenty books, including The Leaf and the Cloud and What Do We Know. Her many accolades include the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
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In "Flare" I read:
"May they sleep well. May they soften." I can allow my mother to leave without rage. Later, I can release her from worldly obligations:
"But I will not give them the kiss of complicity.
I will not give them responsibility for my life."
In words as soft as rose petals or the touch of a baby's cheek, Oliver invokes images that lighten the burdens of life, but tempered with reality, as quietly powerful as a balled fist. Oliver views everything around her from inside nature's world, where the dictates are profoundly simple, where lessons abound for the observant. As a guide, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author is sensitive to the reality of nature's cycles, the interconnectedness of all that surrounds us.
In "Gravel", I found my own thought spoken:
"This is the poem of goodbye.
And this is the poem of I don't know."
Filled with beginnings and endings, I found myself thinking about the world more thoughtfully, grateful for its idiosyncratic beauty and finely wrought perfection, for its ability to guide birth, death and rebirth, a continuum of all life. "Maybe the real world, without us,/ is the real poem."(From the Book of Time) Luan Gaines/2005.
Not just a "Nature Poet" or "Neo-Romantic", Oliver moves beyond poetry that merely observes nature or draws quaint metaphors from its form, to a new level that celebrates humanity and nature as two parts of an indefinable, mysterious and ultimately beautiful whole.
Their is so much joy in the way in which Oliver describes the world that it is contagious, and you will forever view your surroundings differently as a result of reading this book. It isn't just her exquisite grasp of nature that makes this book so pleasurable, however, it is also the way in which she unravels her own character and story within the natural environment that makes you keep turning the pages.
This was my first encounter with Oliver's work, but certainly not the last. Highly recommended.