The past few weeks, I have been getting to know Mary Oliver. I have read her poetry, read other’s thinking on her, listened to her own voice in a podcast, and been awestruck by the beauty Oliver is entrusting to the world. I hope I can introduce you, just a little bit, to Oliver, through some metaphors – some fun, funny, some meaningful.
Animal: Superb Starling. Mary Oliver is colorful, bright. I imagine her as this common, yet startling, bird, soaring over savannas, seeing things from a different perspective.
Plant: Daisy. Oliver’s work and life have a simple beauty to them. Her journey speaks of perseverance, and blooming even when the going is tough. Her life grew out of the dirt, among the weeds, into something beautiful.
Article of Clothing/Outfit: Colorful tunic with galoshes. Oliver adores the outdoors, especially the woods, so she wears galoshes. Oliver is vibrant.
Day of the Week: Tuesday. Oliver makes the ordinary, like Tuesdays and rain and mangoes, beautiful, and special.
Food: Lemonade. Oliver’s poetry is refreshing, but can be intense (possibly bitter in that it calls out unwelcome truth). Her beautiful imagery, a mint sprig, just to top it off.
Color: Green. Mary Oliver goes outside everyday, she writes while walking, she loves the woods. Green is just her color.
Geometric Shape: Circle. Oliver sees many different things in situations and things. She views everything with a well-rounded mind.
Fragrance: Fresh Hay. This scent sounds weird, I know, but it also sounds like a comforting scent. I think it speaks of home, and comfort. In many ways, poetry for Oliver is like coming home. Her early life was rough, and poetry was home.
Type of Building: A Sacred Space. Whether it be Buddhist or Christian, spirituality is at the center of Oliver’s work and life.
Word: Creation. Oliver marvels at creation – it’s pros and cons, uglies and pretties, goods and bads. Her work reflects her love for creation and her perplexity surrounding creation.
Musical Instrument: Flute. Oliver’s truth speaks for its own; it stands out, clearly like the high voice of a flute.
Season of the Year: Winter. Oliver’s truth can be harsh, her poems sometimes bring out the brutality of the world, much like winter can be hard. But Oliver’s poetry, and her life, is still beautiful.
Appliance / Machinery: Milk Frother. Warming your milk in the morning, to put in your coffee, is a simple joy. I have found that reading Oliver’s poetry can be a simple joy. It might not always have a profound, original idea, but it is almost always beautiful, and a joy to read.
Natural Phenomenon: Rainstorm. Frightening, powerful, and beautiful. Able to make change, peaceful.
Literary Character: Dumbledore. Oliver is wise, a little quirky, I suspect she likes knitting patterns, and adores reading and learning.
Hope you learned a bit, and enjoyed reading these metaphors.