It is possible, I suppose that sometime
we will learn everything
there is to learn: what the world is, for example,
and what it means. I think this as I am crossing
from one field to another, in summer, and the
mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either
knows enough already or knows enough to be
perfectly content not knowing. Song being born
of quest he knows this: he must turn silent
were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead
oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly
unanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece, their — if you don’t
mind my saying so — their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know?
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example — I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch —
the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.
by Mary Oliver
This poem moves me with the deep sense of peace that it exudes to me – no need to know any more than you do, taking what is given, seeing what is plain, and the complete belonging that speaks from the last sentence. It reminded me of how important that sense of belonging is: ‘the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the daisies for the field’. What would it be to go through life like that? During recent blissful days of roaming our nearest nature space with my son Finbar (which is a truly gorgeous space with a rocky hill for clambering on, a little river for building dams, forest and field for having adventures) it’s felt a bit like that, this sweet uncomplicated but rich sense of things being exactly right in that moment.
There is a Dutch poem* which I have loved since being a teenager and a sentence of that often comes back to me on a day with Finbar, it translates to something like ‘Happy I was, on that day, / no bad news from newspaper or city / could make me forget about that’. And that might be mostly true for me in that moment. But the latest events of police brutality and systemic oppression that Fay wrote about as well, highlight so starkly how the experience of the world as a welcoming safe place with the ‘suitability’ for flourishing, is a privilege that is not the daily reality for many (as James Baldwin spoke about so powerfully, long before I was even born).
All the more precious for the birds and the daisies to reminds us every day of the possibility of that natural state of being… and let’s work together to ensure that becomes true for all of us.
Wandeling naar Parfondeval
– Remco Campert
De wind wuift over mijn gezicht
schaduw van wat blad.
Het pad gaat hoger straks
de heuvel op, daarachter schuilt gevaar
of veiligheid? In elk geval
vervolg van weg, een bocht
en dan de trage afloop naar het dal
waar water smiespelt
om het badend gras. Gelukkig
was ik op die dag, geen kwaad
bericht in krant uit stad
kon maken dat ik dit vergat.