Lily Pond

I did a little extra digging this week, clearing some reeds from around the water lilies, which were looking rather crowded. I love puddling around in the pond, even though the fine black silt somehow gets into my gloves and refuses to part with my fingernails for days.

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Later looking for something to read to my yoga students while they enjoyed Legs up the Wall, I found Mary Oliver’s poem “The Ponds”

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

Their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them –

the muskrats swimming
amongst the pads and the grasses 
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided –
and that one wears an orange blight –
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away –
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled –
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing –
that the light is everything – that it is more than the sum 
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

Don’t you love those words “more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and fading” … they speak to me of our lives, so swiftly rising and fading, and yet perfect as they are.

The Ponds is taken from Mary Oliver’s “New and Selected Poems, Volume 1” which includes several of my favourites, including The Summer Day.


28 thoughts on “Lily Pond

  1. “…I am looking into the white fire of a great mystery”…..I love Mary Oliver; I am going to receive a Kindle Fire for my 70th birthday and I have two of her books lined up to put on it! Beautiful post, Christine.

      • wow, well done sue, you wrote about your new eating plan, so pleased it is working for you … you know when i lived in detroit i gained such a lot of weight, it was all fluid, something to do with living near the great lakes … it fell off once i came home

        • That is very interesting, about the water; my new friend and now workshop co-presenter, Barbara Evans, (I think I sent you her site but will again); her first painting, energetic and evolutionary was Healing of the Waters; we’re doing it in the Birth 2012 party and a newly created video she did in LA with a guided meditation to it — anyway, she said she found out that 80% of the water of the world is in the Great Lakes; she didn’t believe it, but said she found out later it was true? Anyway, those of us on this path know it is the WATER

          • that is the 1-3 pound fluctuation at any given time, or when the scale refuses to move. Yes, I have a community on Chat I am working this out with, but I am comfortable and see more going with this natural method. I will eventually “confess” a blog on it; I am happy to be healthy and doing this, which is medically and scientifically and nutritionally backed.

  2. The water lilies are exquisite.. I see no imperfections, which is a perfect way to see both lilies and life. Thanks for sharing the images and the wonderful poem 🙂

    • thanks elladee, there are metaphors and allegories all around us in nature .. i think it is funny that i was feeling so crowded in my life when i noticed the lilies looking crowded too … great to hear from you!

  3. Lovely photos Christine, we ar enow entering that dead and brown looking part to the year, so your photos brighten my day.
    How I would love to have poetry read to me while I have feet up the walls. Pure pleasure, thank you for sharing

    • your reply made me smile, i could just pop over one day and read you poem, haha! next year i am changing my yoga classes, but will still do something, maybe just restorative, with some gentle limbering, and of course, lots of Legs up the Wall which is a universal favourite 🙂

  4. What a wonderful poem! I love it. And I love water lilies, too. My gravatar photo is from my pond. Sadly at the end of the season animals got into my pond to feed on the fish (poor things!) and literally shredded my lilies and lotus plants. I have some photos to enjoy while I wait, I suppose! 🙂 Beautiful post! Debra

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