I’ve written a thriller called Blackwatertown. Some pivotal action, romance and revelation takes place at the local Blackwater Lake. So I was very pleased to receive from my mate Kirsty, some poems her Dad had spotted.
They’re by Mary Oliver and talk about her own Blackwater Pond and the wonder and joy and challenge of living.
My Blackwater is both real and fictional and can be found inside my book and on the Irish border. I’m not sure where Mary Oliver’s Blackwater is. Can anyone enlighten me?
Mary herself is an acclaimed poet from Ohio. Here are two of her poems.
Mornings at Blackwater
For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.
And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.
What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
The third stanza, darling citizen, is wonderful, is it not? I have a quotation from Napoleon at the beginning of my story at the moment: “What is history but a fable agreed upon?” Maybe I should change it – or add to it.
Here’s a second poem about Blackwater Pond.
At Blackwater Pond
At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?
Another beautiful poem that is also beautifully apt for one particular episode in my own story.
What a serendipitous and inspiring find. Thank you Douglas on the Isle of Mull.
And if you’d like to hear Mary Oliver reading Morning at Blackwater herself – you can, by clicking here – or she’s reading At Blackwater Pond just below…
I’m new to Mary Oliver. Is anyone out there a fan?