Today it is Mary Oliver again. Her poetry is really unique and this poem is no different. Every writer will understand and appreciate exactly what she’s talking about.
Let us read it here and then discuss it a bit.
Forty Years by Mary Oliver
For forty years
the sheets of white paper have
passed under my hands and I have tried
to improve their peaceful
emptiness putting down
little curls little shafts
of letters words
little flames leaping
not one page
was less to me than fascinating
discursive full of cadence
its pale nerves hiding
in the curves of the Qs
behind the soldierly Hs
in the webbed feet of the Ws
and again this morning as always
I am stopped as the world comes back
wet and beautiful I am thinking
is not even a river
is not a tree is not a green field
is not even a black ant traveling
from day to day from one
golden page to another.
What is the poet trying to convey? How writing for forty years has not diminished the thrill or her thirst for it? How she looks forward every day to filling the emptiness in the white sheets with her thoughts in the fascinating form of words?
Language, she says, is not a river or a tree or a field to flow or grow and stretch from page to page. She even compares it as not being like a black ant, immediately making us think of movement, activity, action. Yet language is all we need to beautifully fill in one golden page after another!
I love the way she makes writing feel like an adventure or a fantasy where peaceful emptiness of golden pages are replaced by the leaping flames of language!