Mary Oliver in Corona Times

Dear Friends,

The brilliant poem, Mary Oliver For Corona Times came to me yesterday via a friend. You may have seen it, it’s being passed around the internet. I wanted to share it with you today.

It stars, You do not have to become totally Zen…..

The rest is below.

For me it expresses something so perfectly for these times.

The other reason I’m sending it because my guidance this morning, for myself, and for you, is to remind you: please write.

In the midst of this unfolding crisis, while so many voices are shouting loudly—do not let your own voice go silent.

Whatever you need to do to keep going, one more day and then the next, don’t forget that writing will help you, guide you, inform you and uplift you.

And when you don’t write for too long, a part of you that you need access to right now, will go dormant.

The part of you that has always needed to write, needs to write now.

It may be harder than ever to let yourself sit down and focus on writing. I’m not saying you necessarily have to write something great, or profound, or beautiful.

I’m saying that you don’t want to let that muscle go dormant, in these times.

While so many voices are clamoring for your attention, you don’t want to lose the habit of listening to your own.

Take a few minutes to sit down with your journal, and listen.

Pour out your confusion, your overwhelm, your clarity, your inspiration. Your fears, you tender ever present vulnerability.

Especially, your vulnerability.

Your vulnerable heart, your sensitive nature, your highly attuned soul is what you need to remember now.

Remember and give it a voice.

Just for you. Because it matters.

Don’t lose touch with that part of you that knows, the part of you that makes meaning, the part of you that needs to find language for the swirling sea of uncertainty.

Don’t forget to write.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, and this time when you breathe out, breathe out the words that are waiting to land on your page. Use a line from the poem below for a prompt.

Or use “What matters now.”

Set a timer for ten minutes, and give yourself that time like a gift that your beloved is offering you.

Take it in your hands, your pen, and the time to write.

I offer you nothing but love, as I remind you to touch in with the one in you who needs to write.

Let me know how it goes.

And here’s the poem:


Mary Oliver for Corona Times

(Thoughts after the poem Wild Geese) 

by Adrie Kusserow

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 ancy 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.

– Adrie Kusserow