A Tribute to the Ashokan Farewell

Of a Particular Piece of North American Music

                      (Ashokan Farewell, Jay Ungar, 1982)

Listen to the Ashokan Farewell

 

Its first       utterances     stir me,

open, display, flatten      me,

as if            I were a ship’s mast.

Then           the others

begin their phrasing,    accompaniment,

expanding            the single voice

into       a conversation.

It’s as if a beating heart

found                   lungs, blood,

and I am a rocky bluff,

a green field strewn with stone,

a wooden fence along a dirt road

graced by a spray of tiny flowers.

Then, the swell          of repetition,

the deliberate climb

to            the overlook

high        on a mountainside,

and my soul is laid bare,

and I am gone

as gone could ever be,

riding the wind.

Solid gone.

C.M. Rivers

Six Thoughts On Mary Oliver

Mary, who helps us remember tenderness when we find an insect on our pillow, or a bat in the house.

Mary, who reminds us of a hundred walks in the wilderness, even as we stare at lamp-lit sheetrock and worry about work.

Mary, who tells us what we knew the moment we were born but have forgotten.

Mary, who makes us feel less alone beneath the ripening grapefruit moon.

Mary, honor student of botany, biology, ornithology.

Mary, whose words are chosen and ordered as if by a kindly saint.