Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To live as flame

It all began with this picture. It was sent to me by my photographer friend Lito Tesoro who took it at the Los Angeles Arboretum. He said it reminded him of my mum Daisy. It is the most beautiful photograph I have seen of a daisy, ever. Click on the image to see it in all its glory, and you'll see what I mean. On July 19, the anniversary of my mother's death, I posted it on my Facebook Wall together with this poem by Mary Oliver, one of my all-time favourite poems.

by Mary Oliver

It is possible, I suppose that sometime
we will learn everything
there is to learn: what the world is, for example,
and what it means. I think this as I am crossing
from one field to another, in summer, and the
mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either
knows enough already or knows enough to be
perfectly content not knowing. Song being born
of quest he knows this: he must turn silent
were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead

oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly
unanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece, their -- if you don't
mind my saying so -- their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know?
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example -- I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch --
the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.

After seeing that, another dear friend, the poet Luisa Igloria left this response to the Mary Oliver poem on my Wall.

(after Mary Oliver's "Daisies")

But if, then, we knew
everything there was to learn,
neither the mockingbird nor the field
overgrown with daisies would move us;
not the sun that sears overhead
in summer, nor its other tokens
that we carry into the year's
different seasons, reminding us
of loss. Having crossed
from hour to laborious hour,
neither do I know what the world is
nor what it might yet be; only
that for the moment it is sweet
to live as flame, to touch and
taste and turn one's face to another's,
grateful for the company.

by Luisa A. Igloria, 19 July 2009

In the Facebook conversation that unfurled, it turned out that Luisa and Lito knew each other decades ago but lost touch. It was a joyous reunion for the two of them. The daisy chain had worked its magic yet again.


Lito said...

Goose bumps all over, Meg! Why you.... The Daisy is on a roll; gaining more meaning and significance as time passes by!

Enjoying my reconnection with Luisa! I'm the new uncle to her children! Thanks again to you!!!


The Poet's Lizard said...

Thanks to you, you fabulous link the daisy chain yourself, Meg. A thousand fragrant petals!

Megatonlove said...

Ah, you two. You were meant to find each other again.