Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Evidence by Mary Oliver

While in Mendocino, I purchased Mary Oliver's newest book of poetry. Her poetry captivates me. I'll be sharing a few of my favorites from this collection in the weeks ahead. The third one in this collection captures the experience of having heart palpitations. Goes like this:

Heart Poem

My heart, that used to pump along so pleasantly,
has come now to a different sort of music.

There is someone inside those red walls, irritated
and even, occasionally, irrational.

Years ago I was part of an orchestra; our conductor
was a wild man. He was forever rapping the music-
stand for silence. The he would call out some
correction and we would begin again.

Now again it is the wild man.

I remember the music shattering, and our desperate

Once he flung the baton over our heads and into
the midst of the players. It flew over the violins
and landed next to a bass fiddle. It flopped to the
floor. What silence! The someone picked it up
and it was passed forward back to him. He rapped
the stand and rasied his arms. Then we all breathed
again, and the music restarted.


I am grateful to everyone who writes and reads poetry.


Delwyn said...

I hope you are feeling Ok Dan.

I get the odd palpitation - caffeine building up the adrenalin levels I think. Its not a good feeling...
I also have 'white coat Blood pressure!' No medication for the time being...

I have just been gushing gratitude to my gym buddy after body balance class for being alive and healthy
and living today
in the amazing world
especially here in Noosa Au.

Dan Gurney said...

Yes, I think I've got pretty much the same thing, but have gotten to the medication stage. I can't do caffeinated coffee; even tea is getting too strong for me. My doctor and my friend said that it's probably related to retirement anxiety, you know, leaving work I've been doing for 28 years is a stressful change. Makes sense.

iwed said...

Unfortunately, I can understand much -have no feeling- about poetry. I do not have talent in art. However, I like drama. have a nice blogging.

Alden Smith said...

This poem reminded me Dan of a conductor we had in an amateur orchestra here in my city (I played the flute) he used to carry on like this until people woke up and realised that an amateur orchestra is about playing music and having fun, so we unceremoniously sacked the complete bastard - the orchestra in the poem should have done the same thing - as human beings why do we let these sorts of people dominate or ruin our lives ??

Alden Smith said...

I am grateful for people who changes in their personal circumstances and have the courage to embrace changes for the better.

Delwyn said...

Dan, is your retirement imminent?

Sarah Lulu said...

So loved the description in the poem ...and I so relate to music it made such sense to me.

I had palpations for a little while about hmmmm
30 years ago ...and I was too scared to tell anyone ....it was a time of great stress ....
I figure I'm safe now LOL.

Now when work is deranged I can get a twitch in my eye that makes me crazy ...

I have one cup of coffee a day and otherwise tea ...

And no other mind or mood altering drugs no alcohol ...

Change is hard Dan .....don't forget to breathe my friend.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Alden-- I am a sometimes member of a local choir led by a guy who really "gets it" and leads the thing with an open heart. It's really fun to make music organically, amateur music, for the love of music.

The retirement is going to be fine, but it's difficult for a guy who's been pretty stable (longtime marriage and employment) to change things up. Still, life is short, and if I want to go on to a second act, I'd better do it before the final curtain drops.

Dan Gurney said...

Delwyn, yep. I've got about six weeks to go. I'm counting the days, savoring each one, like little bites of a dessert.

Dan Gurney said...

Sarah Lulu, I get that eye twitch, too! Breathing is a good thing. I've learned to take deep breaths when I need to reset my system. It really does help. Exercise helps, too. Thanks for your thoughts.

Meri said...

Thanks, Dan. I only recently discovered Mary Oliver and ordered a volume of her poetry. I try to buy as much poetry as I can, since poets get so little recognition. And I publish my poetry on my blog from time to time (meriak.blogspot.com). Just remember to stay open to total surprise in your upcoming retirement.

Sarah Lulu said...

Only six weeks to go until your retirement?!

I can't wait to see what the Universe has in store for you in the next chapters.....

Delwyn said...

Wow Dan
you never gave us an inkling that it was so close,
this really is a time of transition for you.

It will be a wonderful time for you - very different but so many options and opportunities...so much more time to really savour life...
Happy days

Dan Gurney said...

Meri, I am confident that you'll like Mary Oliver. Ms. Oliver may spell her first name funny, but she can sure write a good poem.

Dan Gurney said...

Sarah Lulu,

Yes, I'll be moving on in just a few days. I savor each day left. It's actually painful to leave now at the very top of my game, but something deep inside me tells me to do it.

Like you, I have learned to trust my instincts and trust the world. The logic of sticking around to get a bit fatter retirement check just doesn't captivate me.

Dan Gurney said...


Thanks. I actually do savor life right there on the job in kindergarten. It's been a fulfilling career and a good life's work. I will leave it with great fondness for the work I've done and the work I do.

There's a part of me that just knows I have got to leave while I am strong enough to explore another world of work.