'Music' by Mary Oliver
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I tied together
a few slender reeds, cut
notches to breathe across and made
such music you stood
shock still and thenfollowed as I wandered growing
moment by moment
slant-eyes and shaggy, my feet
slamming over the rocks, growing
hard as horn, and thereyou were behind me, drowning
in the music, letting
the silver clasps out of your hair,
hurrying, taking off
your clothes.I can't remember
where this happened but I think
it was late summer when everything
is full of fire and rounding to fruition
and whatever doesn't,
must lie like a field of dark water under
the pulling moon,
tossing and tossing.In the brutal elegance of cities
I have walked down
the halls of hotelsand heard this music behind
shut doors.Do you think the heart
is accountable? Do you think the body
any more than a branch
of the honey locust tree,hunting water,
hunching toward the sun,
shivering, when it feels
that good, into
white blossoms?Or do you think there is a kind
of music, a certain strand
that lights up the otherwise
blunt wilderness of the body -
and unaccountable selectivity?Ah well, anyway, whether or not
it was late summer, or even
in our part of the world, it is all
only a dream, I did not
turn into the lithe goat god. Nor did you come running
like that.Did you?
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry, Music by Mary Oliver: A Celebration of Nature
Mary Oliver’s “Poetry, Music” is a breathtaking ode to the beauty of nature and the power of poetry to capture and convey its essence. In this poem, Oliver explores the interplay between music and poetry, and their ability to transport us to a world where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and the mundane becomes magical. With her vivid imagery and evocative language, Oliver invites us to join her on a journey of discovery, where we can experience the wonder of the natural world and the transformative power of art.
The poem begins with an invitation: “Oh, do you have time / to linger / for just a little while / out of your busy / and very important day…” The speaker is inviting the reader to take a break from the bustle of everyday life and spend some time in nature, to slow down and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. The poem then goes on to describe the sounds of the forest, the “whisper of leaves” and the “soft hum of bees.” Oliver’s language is simple yet powerful, creating a sense of peace and tranquility that is both calming and inspiring.
As the poem unfolds, Oliver explores the relationship between poetry and music, and the ways in which they can both capture the essence of nature. She writes, “If you can imagine it, / the hummingbird’s frame, / so light, is too heavy / for the air. / It passes like flowers / and like the wind.” Here, Oliver is using poetry to capture the fleeting beauty of the hummingbird, its delicate frame and its rapid movements. By comparing the hummingbird to flowers and the wind, Oliver is using metaphor to create a sense of movement and fluidity, as if the bird is both still and in motion at the same time.
Oliver goes on to describe the “long, blue branches” of the spruce trees, and how they “reach down / to the soft, white nothingness / below the branches.” Here, she is using poetry to capture the majesty and grandeur of the trees, and their connection to the earth below. The imagery is both vivid and sensuous, creating a sense of tactile pleasure as we imagine the softness of the snow and the roughness of the tree bark.
Finally, Oliver ends the poem with a celebration of the power of poetry and music to capture the essence of nature: “For me, the world’s loveliness / has been restored.” Here, she is acknowledging the transformative power of art, and how it can help us see the world in a new and different way. By describing the beauty of nature in such vivid detail, Oliver is inviting us to see the world around us with fresh eyes, to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us and to find joy in the simple things in life.
At its core, “Poetry, Music” is a celebration of nature and the power of art to capture and convey its essence. Oliver is exploring the ways in which poetry and music can help us see the beauty in the world around us, even in the most mundane and ordinary of things. Through her use of vivid imagery and evocative language, she is inviting us to join her on a journey of discovery, to explore the world around us with renewed curiosity and wonder.
One of the most striking aspects of the poem is Oliver’s use of metaphor and imagery to capture the essence of nature. She uses metaphor to create a sense of movement and fluidity, as if the objects she is describing are both still and in motion at the same time. This creates a sense of dynamic tension that is both captivating and inspiring, drawing the reader into the world of the poem and inviting them to engage with the natural world in a new and different way.
Another important aspect of the poem is its celebration of the power of art to transform our perception of the world. Oliver is acknowledging the profound impact that poetry and music can have on our lives, helping us to see the world around us in a new and different way. Through her use of vivid imagery and evocative language, she is inviting us to see the beauty in the world around us, even in the most mundane and ordinary of things.
In “Poetry, Music,” Mary Oliver has created a masterpiece of nature poetry that celebrates the beauty of the natural world and the transformative power of art. Through her use of vivid imagery and evocative language, she invites us to see the world around us in a new and different way, to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us and to find joy in the simple things in life. With its celebration of the interplay between poetry and music, the poem reminds us of the power of art to transport us to a world where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and the mundane becomes magical. As such, “Poetry, Music” is a timeless ode to the beauty of nature and the transformative power of the human spirit.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Music: A Masterpiece by Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, has left an indelible mark on the world of literature with her profound and insightful poetry. Her works are celebrated for their simplicity, clarity, and emotional depth. Among her many masterpieces, Poetry Music stands out as a shining example of her poetic genius. In this 2000-word analysis, we will explore the themes, imagery, and language used in Poetry Music and how they contribute to the overall impact of the poem.
Poetry Music is a short but powerful poem that captures the essence of poetry and its transformative power. The poem begins with the speaker describing the experience of listening to music, which she compares to the feeling of being "in love." The speaker then goes on to say that poetry is like music, but "with more words." This simple statement sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a celebration of the beauty and power of poetry.
One of the most striking features of Poetry Music is its use of imagery. Oliver uses vivid and evocative images to convey the emotional and spiritual impact of poetry. For example, she describes poetry as "a river of words," which flows through the mind and soul, carrying with it the power to heal and transform. This image is particularly powerful because it suggests that poetry is not just a collection of words on a page, but a living, breathing force that can change us from the inside out.
Another powerful image in the poem is the comparison of poetry to a "wild and beautiful horse." This image captures the untamed, unpredictable nature of poetry, which can be both exhilarating and terrifying. The horse is a symbol of freedom and power, but also of danger and unpredictability. By comparing poetry to a wild horse, Oliver suggests that poetry is not something that can be tamed or controlled, but something that must be approached with respect and humility.
The language used in Poetry Music is also worth noting. Oliver's writing is simple and direct, but also deeply emotional and evocative. She uses short, declarative sentences to convey the power and immediacy of poetry. For example, she writes, "Poetry is a way of looking at the world for the first time." This sentence is both simple and profound, capturing the transformative power of poetry in just a few words.
Another example of Oliver's powerful language is the line, "It is the voice of the grass." This line is particularly striking because it suggests that poetry is not just a human creation, but something that is woven into the fabric of the natural world. By giving voice to the grass, Oliver suggests that poetry is a way of connecting with the natural world and finding meaning and beauty in the everyday.
The themes of Poetry Music are also worth exploring. At its core, the poem is a celebration of the power of poetry to transform and uplift. Oliver suggests that poetry is not just a form of entertainment or intellectual exercise, but something that can change us on a deep, spiritual level. She writes, "It is the light in the eyes of the child / It is the voice of the grass." These lines suggest that poetry is not just for the elite or the educated, but something that is accessible to everyone, regardless of age or background.
Another theme of the poem is the idea that poetry is a way of seeing the world in a new and transformative way. Oliver writes, "Poetry is a way of looking at the world for the first time." This line suggests that poetry is not just a way of expressing ideas or emotions, but a way of seeing the world in a fresh and original way. By looking at the world through the lens of poetry, we can discover new beauty and meaning in even the most mundane aspects of life.
In conclusion, Poetry Music is a masterpiece of poetry that captures the essence of the transformative power of poetry. Through its vivid imagery, powerful language, and profound themes, the poem celebrates the beauty and power of poetry to change us on a deep, spiritual level. Mary Oliver's legacy as a poet will continue to inspire and uplift readers for generations to come, and Poetry Music stands as a shining example of her poetic genius.
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