Friday, June 27, 2014


This is a picture I found, not one I took

I've spent most of the last ten days trying to get a rental property ready to sell. The last tenant did quite a bit of damage, plus the house is about twenty years old, so it needs a lot of repairs before it can go on the market. I've been making phone calls, gathering estimates, meeting with handymen, etc., etc. I'm not good at that kind of stuff, at all, so it's been a pretty stressful couple of weeks. I'm longing for beach time or at least a little breathing room…


I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels…
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
       full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.
Mary Oliver
Source: Poetry (August 2003).

Read the rest of the poem here

Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday roundup this week.


Linda B said...

Mary Oliver is just what the doctor orders so often. I hope you get this house complete and out of your mind soon, Carol. I'm off to MO to see family, then hope to get together sometime for coffee. Thanks for a beautiful poem this am.

Buffy Silverman said...

"The broken cupboard of the clam" is much more appealing than the broken cupboard of the rental house. Hope you get that behind you soon and can enjoy some summer!

Mary Lee said...

Lovely poem, but I'll still wish you some WHOLENESS.

Tara said...

Here's to putting this worry aside an getting on with relaxing this summer, Carol. Funny that you should share this poem, I wanted to end the Two Writing Teachers post I just write with this poem, for it connected so well to a writing exercise Linda Rief had us undertake that involved painting and shells. Those last lines connected to the idea of finding our stories in unexpected places - but my post was long and I left it out. Such a treat to arrive here and see it! It's one of my favorite Oliver poems...

Julie said...

That's calming, isn't it? Oliver's poems are often like a salve when you're feeling "barnacle scarred." Hope the hard work is done now.

GatheringBooks said...

There is really just something about Mary Oliver. Like Linda says, she is what the doctor orders. I brought her American Primitive with me at the beach, and it was just bliss.