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Book Chat > Pagan Poetry

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message 1: by Nell (last edited Nov 03, 2013 03:07AM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread for our favourite pagan poems. They can be posted here if they're out of copyright, otherwise please leave a link :)

Book recommendations are welcome too.

Let's begin with Catechism For a Witch's Child by J.L. Stanley - beautiful.


PJ Who Once Was Peejay | 336 comments Beautiful.

Here's my all-time favorite paean to the sacredness of nature: City Limits by A. R. Ammon.


message 3: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Great new thread. Love both the poems. :)


message 4: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments We must have a link to The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe - you can listen too...


message 5: by Ancestral (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) Quite a few pagan poetry books listed here:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2...


message 6: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Thanks Ancestral :)


message 7: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments A quote rather than a poem, but I thought it lovely and appropriate:

“How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much. ”

Mary Oliver


message 8: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Oh yes... :)


message 9: by Sara (new)

Sara Little wrote: "A quote rather than a poem, but I thought it lovely and appropriate:

“How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and..."


Mary Oliver is perhaps my favourite poet. Her images of the natural world are unsurpassed, IMO. I had the privilege of hearing her read once, and it was amazing. I had to sit on the steps of the auditorium because so many people showed up. I'll have to dig out the ones I love best and share them.


message 10: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Sara wrote: "Little wrote: "A quote rather than a poem, but I thought it lovely and appropriate:

“How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers ..."


That would be wonderful Sara. :):) I've only just discovered her work. Exquisite stuff.


message 11: by Sara (new)

Sara Little wrote: "Sara wrote: "Little wrote: "A quote rather than a poem, but I thought it lovely and appropriate:

“How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are..."


Oh my, you are in for a treat then. She lives not very far from me, down on Cape Cod. *scurries off to dig out her Mary Oliver books and post something for Gina*


message 12: by Sara (new)

Sara Little wrote: "Sara wrote: "Little wrote: "A quote rather than a poem, but I thought it lovely and appropriate:

“How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are..."

C
House of Light is maybe my favourite, though its hard to say. Hope you haven't seen this one, though its one of her best known. I wrote a short story off the last line.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who,has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to fall down
into the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


message 13: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Sara wrote: "Little wrote: "Sara wrote: "Little wrote: "A quote rather than a poem, but I thought it lovely and appropriate:

“How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
frien..."


Beautiful! Thank you Sara. A perfect mood in which to start the day. :):)


PJ Who Once Was Peejay | 336 comments Little wrote: "A quote rather than a poem, but I thought it lovely and appropriate:"

I adore Mary Oliver. One of my favorites. I'm so glad you've discovered her.

And one of my favorite poems is from her collection American Primitive, for which she won the Pulitzer. The poem is "The Lost Children" and it's rather long and I probably shouldn't post it here, but I will. (I couldn't find any appropriate links to it.)

The Lost Children
by Mary Oliver

1

In southern Ohio,
a long time ago,
Lydia Osborn, aged eleven, left
her younger sister
on the path and headed after
some straying cows, and did not
return.

Seven days a search was made; men
from Ohio and Kentucky tramped
the darkness, miles
of underbrush and trees.

They found where she'd slept,
under two fallen trees, and eaten
fox grapes and other berries.

The searchers went on into
the darkness. On the fifteenth day they found

footprints by a stream;
nearby, a blackberry patch, and near that

a small house built of sticks,
with a little door, and a roof of green moss.
Inside, a tiny bed of leaves and more moss,
wild flowers
scattered over it.

2

I'm sorry for the mother and her grief,
I'm sorry for the father and his inconsolable
grief, climbing up and down the hillsides,

the edges of swamps, the desolations of the old
forest that ticked and spoke
in the thrush's gorgeous and amoral voice,
while pain picked him up and held him
in its gray jaw

enumerating
the terrible
possibilities.

3

Isaac Zane,
at nine, stolen
by the Wyandots, lived among them
on the shores
of the Mad River.

A grown man, he walked back
to the world and found himself
lost there. Or was it only

the smile
of the Indian girl
Myeerah, the White Crane,
that sent him back?

Anyway, he left the streets
and returned, and for fifty years
they lived together
in a house he built beside the Mad River,
he and the beautiful dark woman,
the White Crane, Myeerah.

4

Not far from the tiny house in the forest, searchers
the next day found Lydia Osborn's bonnet; nearby,
the hoofprints of Indian horses. And now, oh,
the possibilities are endless!

5

I’m sorry for grief, I said that.

But I think the girl
knelt down somewhere in the woods
and drank the cold water of some
wild stream, and wanted
to live. I think

Isaac caught
dancing feet. I think

death has no country.
Love has no name.

6

I know why the old Wyandot chief, Tarhe,
laughed and would not barter back for anything
in any world
Isaac, the captured boy, his delight.

I know.
He did it for his own sake.

7

Yet, because he was an old man, and a wise man,
I think he'd understand
how sometimes, when loss leans like a broken tree,
I like to imagine
he did it
for all of us.



message 15: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Adding the book. Thanks Minsma. :):)


PJ Who Once Was Peejay | 336 comments Okay, I'm going to stretch the definition of pagan poetry to include somebody who is technically a pagan, a pre-Christian Roman, but not someone given to spiritualism: Lucretius. The reason? Because I love this excerpted poem from his longer work, On the Nature of Things. I'm not about to pretend I've read the whole thing (it's book length), but I have dipped into this metrical translation by William Ellery Leonard. It's out of copyright and if you're so inclined can be found here:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/785/78...

And so on to the excerpt, "No Single Thing Abides" which I find quite moving:

No Single Thing Abides

No single thing abides; but all things flow.
Fragment to fragment clings—the things thus grow
Until we know and name them. By degrees
They melt, and are no more the things we know.

Globed from the atoms falling slow or swift
I see the suns, I see the systems lift
Their forms; and even the systems and the suns
Shall go back slowly to the eternal drift.

You too, oh earth—your empires, lands, and seas—
Least with your stars, of all the galaxies,
Globed from the drift like these, like these you too
Shalt go. You are going, hour by hour, like these.

Nothing abides. The seas in delicate haze
Go off; those mooned sands forsake their place;
And where they are, shall other seas in turn
Mow with their scythes of whiteness other bays...

The seeds that once were we take flight and fly,
Winnowed to earth, or whirled along the sky,
Not lost but disunited. Life lives on.
It is the lives, the lives, the lives, that die.

They go beyond recapture and recall,
Lost in the all—indissoluble All:—
Gone like the rainbow from the fountain's foam,
Gone like the spindrift shuddering down the squall.

Flakes of the water, on the waters cease!
Soul of the body, melt and sleep like these.
Atoms to atoms—weariness to rest—
Ashes to ashes—hopes and fears to peace!

Titus Lucretius Carus (89 BC)
tr. William Ellery Leonard


message 17: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments That's pretty amazing. Very moving.


PJ Who Once Was Peejay | 336 comments Little wrote: "That's pretty amazing. Very moving."

Yes, it always gets to me no matter how many times I read it.


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