Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beauty

We're well into the 6-week Easter season now, adding Alleluia to the end of every beginning and ending antiphon of the psalms each prayer period. So, I thought it would be nice to just go for pure beauty and exaltation today.

The first is our schola singing during the Triduum "Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs."

The second comes from my trip to Cleveland this week to see and hear Mary Oliver recite her poetry. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my lifetime. A young architect from Cleveland, whose firm was one of the sponsors of the event, introduced her. He spoke eloquently and from the heart. He spoke of a down time in his own life when a friend shared with him one of Mary's poems and how that moment transformed his life. He ended by telling the audience that he hopes someday each one of us has a friend who is with us at such a moment when a similar gift is needed--from Mary. Here is the poem he received. As Mary, who was very funny and witty throughout the hour and a half reading and Q&A, introduced it, "I think I'd better read 'Wild Geese' or I'll be run out of town tonight!"

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
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
.

Mary Oliver