Struck by Loneliness

A few years back, the start of my school year was interrupted by jury duty. Rather than welcoming students back to the study of Advanced Placement English or British Literature after another seemingly-too-short summer (I know, I shouldn’t complain), I spent my days weighing the evidence in a civil court case. In all, I onlyContinue reading “Struck by Loneliness”

Where Are You Positioned? Before, Behind, or Beside the Freight Train

Last week a freight train stalled my usual morning commute. Of course, in the vast scheme of things, the few minutes I spent waiting at the crossing were nothing. But coupled with two other events over the past week, I found myself asking the question that I’ve used as the title of this post: amContinue reading “Where Are You Positioned? Before, Behind, or Beside the Freight Train”

Devotions with Mary Oliver: “Tides”

As we come to the end of the week and go forth with boldness into that annual test of one’s fortitude – daylight savings time – it felt fitting to share Mary Oliver’s “Tides” from the A Thousand Mornings (2012) section of her collection of poems, Devotions. When I read it the other night, IContinue reading “Devotions with Mary Oliver: “Tides””

Devotions with Mary Oliver: “Don’t Hesitate”

Don’t be afraid of joy. In hard times, I can see how someone might shun joy’s exuberant embrace. How can I be joyful when… [insert horrific or difficult or sad reality here]? Such thinking isn’t worth a fig, to use the old idiom. I don’t believe that we were made to only indulge in joyContinue reading “Devotions with Mary Oliver: “Don’t Hesitate””

Devotions with Mary Oliver: “At Blackwater Pond”

“Well, I built me a raftand she’s ready for floatin’Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my nameCatfish are jumpin’,that paddle wheel thumpin’Black water keep rollin’ on past just the same” “Blackwater” by The Doobie Brothers, from What Were Once Vices are Now Habits (1974) I know, I know! The Doobie Brothers and Mary Oliver aren’t talking aboutContinue reading “Devotions with Mary Oliver: “At Blackwater Pond””

Devotions with Mary Oliver: That Little Beast, the Poem

Mark Strand’s “Eating Poetry” and Billy Collins’ “Introduction to Poetry” both address the wonder of reading and interacting with poetry. They are probably my two go-to poems for introducing others to the simple joy good poetry can bring to any life. But Mary Oliver’s “That Little Beast” has clawed its way into the poetic fray,Continue reading “Devotions with Mary Oliver: That Little Beast, the Poem”

Devotions with Mary Oliver: “On Meditating, Sort Of”

Out of the blue, my son Benjamin blessed me with a random gift. No reason. No ulterior motive. Just the choice between another disc for disc golf or a book. As much as I love losing to my sons weekly (it’s hard to believe that I ever held the family course record for Memorial ParkContinue reading “Devotions with Mary Oliver: “On Meditating, Sort Of””