friday feast: celebrating mary oliver’s “poppies”

“Oh Lord, how shining and festive is your gift to us, if we only look, and see.”  ~ Mary Oliver (“Look and See”, Why I Wake Early)

poppy field
photo by vgtortoise

What do you see when you look out your window?

Thank goodness for Mary Oliver when you need a good share of hope, a reminder to turn your face to the light. Poppies speak of many things, in general, the imagination — but yellow stands for wealth and success, red for pleasure, white for peace. Enjoy Oliver’s “invitation to happiness” and this photo bouquet of color, beauty, joy, remembrance. Bask in the light of her words and shine on.🙂

orange poppy
photo by mamavenezia

POPPIES
by Mary Oliver

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn’t a place
in this world that doesn’t

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it’s done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?

~ from New and Selected Poems, Vol. I (Beacon Press, 1993)

yellow poppy
photo by Pat’s Picks36
california poppy reserve
photo by migrantmendicant
pink poppy
photo by Janice Sheehan
purple poppies
photo by JohnL46
puppy poppies
photo by The Pack
poppy colors
photo by gerrygoal2008
poppies sea
photo by ludi_ste
photo by Cristina 63
poppy macro
photo by lady.bracknell
photo by gingerkillercat
poppy field 2
photo by Emmalouise G
Poppy
photo by charlie191
photo by Bruceman_200
photo by elaine.gregg
photo by Susan Taylor Brown

♥ For even more loveliness and light, visit Susan Taylor Brown’s Poppiness Shop at Etsy.com!

* * *

poetryfriday180The always lovely Violet Nesdoly is hosting the Roundup today. Enjoy the sweet wonder and fragrance of the many poems being shared in the blogosphere this week, and have a good holiday weekend!

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Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

55 thoughts on “friday feast: celebrating mary oliver’s “poppies”

  1. Oh, I just love it when the Tuscan fields are covered in red-orange poppies, thousands and thousands of them flittering there in the breeze. Thank you for sharing this buoyant poem – I love the challenge at the end – and all those bursts of color.🙂

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  2. I’ve always loved poppies but I’ve never had a patch sunny enough to grow them until this house… maybe I’ll actually put in a flower bed this year. Thank you for sharing Mary Oliver’s bright poem.

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  3. Those orange/red California poppies are so delightful. They ‘pop’ up in surprising places, little gifts each day all summer. Thanks for this beautiful poem. She just claims the words every time, doesn’t she? A shining poem! Thanks Jama.

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    1. Yes, Mary Oliver always seems to have just the right words for whatever ails you. I’m surrounded by bare branches and brown leaves — wish some of those bright California poppies could miraculously sprout up around here!

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    1. Happy Friday to you too, Bridget — I’m definitely missing something by not living in California — saw so many beautiful photos of those wild poppies there.🙂

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  4. Hi, Jama. I’ve always been fond of poppies (Poppy was my nickname for my grandfather, who died rather young). The idea of the poppies and their flaming color challenging the night — so lovely. Thank you for sharing this poem.

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  5. Joy on the menu today, I see! Thank you for sharing this poem, Jama.

    I had highlighted the same phrase Carmela did to especially praise – beyond lovely. After so many gray, wet days the sun came out here today (Georgia), and it made me feel the way Oliver’s poem here does.

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  6. I especially like: I am washed and washed
    in the river
    of earthly delight—
    You outdid yourself with the river of poppy photos, Jama!

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  7. What a beautiful collection of photographs!! The vibrant colors and clear images of those beauties took me in. I kept scrolling up and down. Such a delight in my eyes. Here are my favorite lines:

    But I also say this: that light
    is an invitation
    to happiness,
    and that happiness,

    when it’s done right,
    is a kind of holiness,
    palpable and redemptive.

    Thank you for sharing all these Friday treats, Jama!! =)

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    1. Those are definitely my favorite lines in the poem, too! Glad you enjoyed all the photos. I always get a little color starved during the winter months . . .

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  8. Ah, Mary Oliver…I needed the warmth and joy of this poem on this dreary winter day. And those photographs are just glorious. Thank you, Jama.

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  9. Who would dare to argue with Mary Oliver or a bright poppy? Thanks for the glow today. We are seeing our first sunshine this year. A day to notice and celebrate!

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  10. Oh my, that poem together with all the lovely photos you found have just given me shivers. You’re right–this does make me want to “shine on.” Thanks so much for being part of Poetry Friday, as always. Have a light-filled weekend.

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    1. Thanks again for hosting this week, Violet (how apt you have a flowery name, and that Ms. LaTulippe was the first commenter).🙂 Hope your weekend is the best!

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  11. You are always such a source of joy, light, and yummylicious vibrant poppies and Mary Oliver goodness. I can never thank you enough for introducing me to this beautiful poet who speaks my soul’s whispers in such a crystal voice and pristine verse:

    “But I also say this: that light
    is an invitation
    to happiness,
    and that happiness,

    when it’s done right,
    is a kind of holiness,
    palpable and redemptive.”

    Here’s to redemption, dearest Jama. And love. And colors. And light.

    This reminds me that I have just drafted an advance post last night for one of the photo challenges we usually join – G is for Greens. I know that in some parts of the world, the weather may be a bit dreary and gloomy, I wrote that post – a celebration of the greens I see around me on campus every single day – to add a drop of sunshine in your days. Won’t be up though til the next few weeks. But just goes to show that we’re practically on the same wavelength – you know what they say about fab people… and great minds…😛

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    1. LOL! Great minds — yes!!

      Green is my favorite color, not to mention that it’s scarce outside these days, so I’m really looking forward to your post.🙂

      Your comment is poetry in itself, Myra — Mary’s words are indeed pristine and crystal clear. Always uplifting and enlightening to see the natural world through her eyes.

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  12. I didn’t know poppies came in so many colors. (I haven’t read all the comments — probably eighty people said this already.) I love the Mary Oliver poem, too, the “levitation of bright dust.” Beautiful.

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  13. Jama, Oh, thank you for the bursts of poppy color. Just what those of us in snow country need now., along with Mary Oliver, of course. These are my favorite lines:

    and that happiness,

    when it’s done right,
    is a kind of holiness,
    palpable and redemptive.
    Inside the bright fields,

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  14. Okay, this is really nice on a very cold day, even if I’m late getting to it.

    I know I’ve read that before, but somehow it was like reading it anew here. So good. Just so, so good.

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