Poets, politics, and policy

Posted by Dane Carder on January 17, 2019


Mary Oliver passed away today. I would imagine that most people don’t know who she is… I barely do. She’s a poet, and certainly living eternally, because that is what art does for mortals.  After hearing the news of her moving on, I wondered about how different this world would be if poets played a larger role in dictating policy in politics. Or, what if they were just as popular and influential with the youth as (insert any mediocre pop culture star)… We would be living in a much different and more beautiful, thoughtful, and heart-centered world. I can only fantasize about this alternate reality, because it’s just not going to happen in my life. I need to do a better job cultivating a life full of poetic reverie and less Instagram.

Linked below is a wonderful episode of On Being with Krista Tippett chatting with Mary Oliver:



When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world

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