Mountains , Rivers, Trees and Blossoms for a New Year-Mary Oliver and Me

Mountains , Rivers, Trees and Blossoms for a New Year-Mary Oliver and Me

 

On the eve of a New Year and in the face of all the turmoil and strife we are   encountering its important to keep our bearings; understand what is authentic and what will sustain us as we try and make sense of the infinite complexity of the world.

Its vital that we dream positive dreams; reach out to those we fear , engage visible holiness, attend to the trees, the mountains and the rivers so that they can weave their magic on us and the next generation.

To transform the world we need to understand our own life, love, truth and uniqueness..

No one captures these things better than American poet Mary Oliver. So I am sharing two Oliver poems with you in the hope that they will energise, console and strengthen you   as they did me so that we can all work together to be the people we are meant to be in 2016 and beyond.

Kevin

 

 

 

Leaves and Blossoms along the Way: A Poem

Mary Oliver 2015

 

If you’re John Muir you want trees

to live among.

If you’re Emily, a garden

will do.

Try to find the right place for yourself.

If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

 

 

When one is alone and lonely, the body

gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,

or splashes into the cold river,

or pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

Anything that touches.

 

 

God, or the gods,

are invisible, quite

understandable. But holiness is visible,

entirely.

 

 

Some words will never leave God’s mouth,

no matter how hard you listen.

 

In all the works of Beethoven,

you will not find a single lie.

 

All important ideas must include the trees,

the mountains, and the rivers.

 

 

To understand many things you must reach out

of your own condition.

 

 

For how many years did I wander slowly

through the forest. What wonder

and glory I would have missed had I ever been

in a hurry!

 

Beauty can both shout and whisper,

and still it explains nothing.

 

The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

 

 

 

The Journey

by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

 

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About kevinclements2012

Short CV Professor Kevin P Clements. I am the Foundation Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand and Secretary General of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy. Prior to taking up these positions I was the Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia . I went to Queensland from International Alert where I was Secretary General from January 1999 to September 2003. International Alert is one of the world’s largest NGOs working on conflict transformation. It pioneered innovative policy and practical approaches to conflict prevention and transformation in Africa ,Eurasia and Asia . It has also made a major contribution to the mainstreaming of conflict prevention within European Foreign and Development Ministries, the EU and a variety of UN institutions. During his time there I was on the Board of the European Centre for Conflict Prevention and past President of the European Peace Building Liaison Office in Brussels. Prior to becoming Secretary General of International Alert I was the Vernon and Minnie Lynch Chair of Conflict Resolution at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University Fairfax Virginia USA 1994-2000 and Director of the Institute from 1994-1999. My career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. I was, for example, formerly Director of the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva and Head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra .Prior to this I was Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Coordinator of Peace Studies at Canterbury University, Christchurch New Zealand . My first academic position was as a lecturer in Sociology at Hong Kong University . I took up this position from a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Oxford University where I worked on development issues with Paul Streeten and others. I have been an advisor to the New Zealand, Australian , British , Swedish and Dutch governments on conflict prevention , peace, defence and security issues and advised the German Government and the OECD on States and Violence. I was, a member of the New Zealand Government’s Defence Committee of Enquiry in 1985 and I currently conducting Problem Solving Workshops in North East Asia with high level participants from Japan, China and Korea. Iwas President of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) from 1994-1998, President of the IPRA Foundation from 1995-2000 and Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association. I was Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association 2008-2010. I got my B.A, B.A Hon ( First Class) and Ph.D in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand. and held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford from 1970-1971. I have been a regular consultant to a variety of non governmental and intergovernmental organisations on disarmament, arms control, conflict resolution, development and regional security issues and I have written or edited 7 books and over 160 chapters /articles on conflict transformation, peacebuilding, preventive diplomacy and development with a specific focus on the Asia Pacific region. Research Expertise 1. Peace Research Theory- Conflict and Conflict Resolution Theory . Preventive Diplomacy , Development and Peacebuilding 2. International and Regional Regimes-APEC, ASEAN, the ARF, ECOWAS 3. Political Sociology-International Organisations. Multilateral/bilateral negotiating processes. 4. Fragile States, Legitimacy and Political Hybridity 5. Alternative Defence and Security Policies-Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific region. 6. The politics and ethics of international humanitarian intervention 7. Altruism and Compassion In my spare time I like to paint with acrylics or pastels, go to the theatre, listen to classical music, visit art galleries etc!
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