Posts in Poetry
Poets and Writers Respond

Mary Oliver wrote poetry with a clarity and a sentience that whiplashed me into an awareness I often missed. Her work is a direct arrow of energy. Her death also.

Last week I wrote a post called “What would Mary Oliver do?” I wrote about a dream I had after she died where I was sent up to the attic to plug the holes where the mice lived and stood there looking at them. I wondered what Mary Oliver would do. I invited people to send me poems. What she’d do. What they’d do. Some poems responded to the question, while most came from that arrow of energy that she was, the essential ephemeral nature of everything as it hits you and moves through.

Here are poems by Robbie Chesick, Dominique Davies, Bill Gaynor, and Jill Jorgenson.

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Don't Be Superficial, Cause We'll Soon Find Out

Last summer I was invited by The Brave Festival of Risk and Failure at Harbourfront to write poems for people on the spot. About 40 folks came over several days and I asked what they needed a poem for and then I wrote it. And then they took it and walked away. 

At the start of my shift on the second day, a man was waiting there, eager. No excited. So into it, it made me nervous.

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This Breakfast

This Breakfast


In honour of Gerry I invent a new breakfast.

A fried egg, bacon and warm spinach salad.

It took me several tries to get that order right.

Did you say a warm spinach salad? Feh.

With a fried egg? A warm spinach, egg,

and bacon salad. A warm spinach, fried

egg, and bacon salad.  An mmmm fried

egg and bacon salad. An mmm fried egg

and bacon and warm spinach salad.

What I wanted was greasy, salty, green, limp,

and fresh, with vinegar, and two kinds of toast,

one grainy, one smooth like challah but more brioche,

with peach and orange marmalade I made.

Three mugs of tea. No four. Dark

chocolate biscuits for dessert. Dessert

for breakfast. Pablo Neruda said, I confess

that I have lived. So would Gerry.

It was a lazy Susan kind of mind, wanting to

put together whatever wanted to go in the bowl

and my mouth, with a bit of vinegar, as I said.

It was exactly what I wanted, which delighted

me as I'd stopped trying to make it work.

Just eat, Gerry said.

After the funeral, I felt like someone took

a gun and blasted it through the part of my brain

that makes sense. It was left raw, like egg.

Ok, egg. Bacon. Ok. Greens. Ok. Jam! Yes.

And imaginings of Lorraine cooking with me,

and Gerry sitting, and I have no idea if he likes

any of this, but to stay true to the process and its shtick

in the service of a mission that holds in its mouth

the names, and imagined wants of others, as much

as one's own taste buds, is, I think,

just what the man ordered.



Ronna Bloom, The More, (Pedlar Press, 2017)

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PoetryRonna Bloom