Mary Oliver for Corona Times – a Poem

This insightful poem by Adrie Suzanne Kusserow, really struck me when it was shared last week in a worldwide community writing session I’m participating in.  Written along the form of Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese, I love how the words offer such a grace-filled permission for us to feel into everything that this isolation and crumbling of our former lives are bringing to us.

MARY OLIVER for CORONA TIMES
(Thoughts after the poem WILD GEESE)

You do not have to become totally zen,
You do not have to use this isolation to make your marriage better,
your body slimmer, your children more creative.
You do not have to “maximize its benefits”
By using this time to work even more,
write the bestselling Corona Diaries,
Or preach the gospel of ZOOM.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body unlearn
everything capitalism has taught you,
(That you are nothing if not productive,
That consumption equals happiness,
That the most important unit is the single self.
That you are at your best when you resemble an efficient machine).

Tell me about your fictions, the ones you’ve been sold,
the ones you sheepishly sell others,
and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world as we know it is crumbling.
Meanwhile the virus is moving over the hills,
suburbs, cities, farms and trailer parks.
Meanwhile The News barks at you, harsh and addicting,
Until the push of the remote leaves a dead quiet behind,
a loneliness that hums as the heart anchors.
Meanwhile a new paradigm is composing itself in our minds,
Could birth at any moment if we clear some space
From the same tired hegemonies.
Remember, you are allowed to be still as the white birch,
Stunned by what you see,
Uselessly shedding your coils of paper skins
Because it gives you something to do.
Meanwhile, on top of everything else you are facing,
Do not let capitalism coopt this moment,
laying its whistles and train tracks across your weary heart.
Even if your life looks nothing like the Sabbath,
Your stress boa-constricting your chest.
Know that your antsy kids, your terror, your shifting moods,
Your need for a drink have every right to be here,
And are no less sacred than a yoga class.
Whoever you are, no matter how broken,
the world still has a place for you, calls to you over and over
announcing your place as legit, as forgiven,
even if you fail and fail and fail again.
remind yourself over and over,
all the swells and storms that run through your long tired body
all have their place here, now in this world.
It is your birthright to be held
deeply, warmly in the family of things,
not one cell left in the cold.

By Adrie Suzanne Kusserow ©2020

How does this poem sit with you?  What does it stir inside?  I would love to hear in your comments below.

Be well, but mostly gentle and forgiving with your precious self.

10 Responses to “Mary Oliver for Corona Times – a Poem”

  1. Nancy N Sidhu

    This is just a wonderful poem of “YES” and yes, yes, yes. Here we all are. And the ground supports us. We waver, topple sometimes, leap up, lean on the nearest tree all leafing out, sometimes weep on the soil in front of the roses. Yes.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Heather Michet

      Nancy – Thank you so much for reading and commenting with your beautifully expressed truths. Yes indeed we are supported! Healthful blessings to you.

  2. Lori Lippitz

    Lovely and wise. Unexpected lessons arise from extreme uncertainty in these times.

    Reply
  3. Dee McDonald

    This poem really spoke to me both as a therapist and a person.
    It is so easy to set our expectations too hight and as a result feel unnecessary failure and disappointment. This is likely a result of the generations of individualism instilled in us through a flawed society driven by consumerism and need for capital reward.
    As our Spring emerges in the Northern hemisphere, nature reminds us of what we seem to have forgotten, life is cyclical and new shoots are dependent on the death of the old.
    The stagnation we’ve experienced is over and new potential is waiting in the wings for those brave and flexible enough to welcome her into our lives.
    This poem has certainly helped me feed these thoughts.
    Thank you.
    http://www.crossriverwellbeing.com

    Reply
    • Heather Michet

      Dear Dee – Thank you so very much for your thoughtful and insightful words. I appreciate you reading it and sharing. I’s so happy to know that you find it helpful. May new shoots of increased health and wellness grace your spring as we move through this transformational time. ~ Heather

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