Poetry Friday: In Blackwater Woods

One of the best things about this online community of writers and readers is that when life hands you curves, people will send you poetry. That happened this week after announcing the passing of my friend and former co-worker who had brain cancer. She was 65 years young and only had been retired since 2010. This is one of the poems I received from Janet Fagal.

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go

– Mary Oliver

I have read this over and over this week, thinking of Oliver’s rules to live in this world., especially the letting go.
Poetry Friday is at Robyn Hood Black<strong.
Happy Poetry
Happy Friday.


10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: In Blackwater Woods

  1. I believe poetry helps me often, Jone. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem with all of us, and again, am sorry for the loss of your friend. Sending a hug.

  2. Jone,

    In a very dark time one of my former students shared this with me. It helped. I am glad it has been a comfort. I believe Shirley is in a beautiful place. Poetry can bind our wounds and bind us to even virtual friends who are as real as the air we breathe. I hope this continues to give you strength.

    Janet F.

  3. Oh Jone, I send you war thoughts and fairy light in this time of grief. Poetry heals, or at least soothes the tired heart. I love Blackwater Woods, i believe I shared this to a soldier-friend a year ago. Speaks to me too.

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