One of the questions I get asked most frequently is, “Where do you find inspiration?”
My usual response involves a nod to nature, travel, friends, family…. What I rarely respond with (for fear of boring the inquirer) is this: poetry.
I’ve always found inspiration in poetry. I love how closely poets look at our world. They often use such surprising comparisons and metaphors, their language takes my breath away. Poetry forces you to slow down, breathe, appreciate, and I always feel a sense of calm after reading a few poems.
If you think about it, the #1 bestselling book of all time is largely a collection of poetry. If you guessed the Bible, you’re correct.
I’m currently reading Mary Oliver’s book of poems, entitled DEVOTIONS.
Mary Oliver passed away earlier this year, and I’m so grateful she left us with wonderful lines like these:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”
“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
I found a poem in the book that spoke so directly to my struggle with minimizing material possessions. It made me feel better that someone as wise as Mary Oliver dealt with the same thing.
Here is the poem:
My issue: I love beautiful things. When I find a beautiful object that’s for sale, whether it’s a candle, an art print or a silk blouse, I’m tempted to acquire it. What I admire about Mary Oliver is that she turned her focus on the beauty of the natural world. And the natural world is not for acquisition. It’s free and it’s wild. We can admire it and love it, but it can’t be contained if it is to exist in its full glory. Amirite??
Anyway, to me, poets are artist-philosophers. And Mary Oliver is one of the modern greats.
Okay, now instead of just reading about nature, I’m ready to go out to enjoy the summer day!
(Oh, and I haven’t forgotten about the mystery contents mentioned in my prior post — more to come later this summer…)