Today saw the passing of poet Mary Oliver. And in celebration of her life and witness to God's beauty and life's depth, I pass along my favorite of her poems. That is to say, the poem of hers with which I've spent the time to learn something.
"Rumi (for Coleman Banks)"
When Rumi went into the tavern
I heard a lot of crazy talk
and a lot of wise talk.
But the roses wouldn't grow in my hair.
When Rumi left the tavern
I don't mean just to pick at
such a famous fellow.
Indeed he was rather ridiculous with his
long beard and his dusty feet.
But I heard less of the crazy talk and
a lot more of the wise talk and I was
hopeful enough to keep listening
until the day I found myself
transformed into an entire garden
...In her words on Rumi, I hear the story of pursuit. Of hearing just enough of the "wise talk" to stick around for more. And of listening, long enough, to find the wisdom that was hidden at first.
And so Rumi reminds me of Christian discipleship. Hearing enough of the wisdom of Jesus to follow him around, for another minute, for years, for a lifetime...slowly being transformed into an entire garden.
And perhaps you hear something fully different! For that is the nature and gift of Mary's craft. So similar in that respect to the parables of Jesus.
Thank you for your poetry and love, Mary. Blessed Mary Oliver, pray with us.