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Mary Oliver, The Magician of Nature

Examining nature, environmental, and ecofeminism precepts from the literary and cultural production, I enjoy one of the most famous American poets, Mary Oliver, and her poem Wild Geese.

Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019) was an American poet who won the National Book Award in 1992 with New and Selected Poems, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 with her fifth collection of poetry, American Primitive. Mary Oliver was an “indefatigable guide to the natural world, particularly to its lesser-known aspects,” wrote another woman poet Maxine Kumin in the Women’s Review of Books.

Thinking in my here and now, my first impression about the poem Wild Geese of Mary Oliver is that we are not alone. Despite the despair, dissolutions, limitations, and the loneliness and fear that unavoidable change brings to us, situations are seen as a fleeting state of mind. Our thoughts can be our worst enemy and to be able to get on another level, faith in ourselves and our restless imagination can make us fly high. Free and gregariously at the same time, just as that herd of wild geese out in the sky, as privileged creatures of nature we can become a source of infinite wisdom.

Reflecting on this particular moment, the poem inspired me to think that the entire world is currently facing unsuspected challenges, and some nations, unfortunate political leadership. We do not have any place to go or to fly free if we don’t stick together and look out for closer human relationships, both in the middle of a pandemic. Covid-19 has isolated us in these unpredictable and unreliable times, and to be able to achieve an equitable and egalitarian balance to coexist with the other and our home, the earth, should be our primary focus.

The virus has unmasked the indifference, hypocrisy, neglect, discrimination, and corruption. The environment reclaims us to take care of the incommensurable risks that our land, water, and air are facing. But if fear reigns, our incapacity to find the way makes us more anxious, angry, and mistrusted in a world in which deception and lies are the rules and few can see the consequences.

Is not hide in the dark waves and grey clouds but to emerge, so we all can see each other. There is still a blue sky hanging over our heads.


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