Your Wild and Precious Life–dVerse Meeting the Bar


Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

A flock of starlings startled me this morning
flying randomly between city sky scrapers
before settling into formation
and heading toward the mountains.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

A perfect fence, white pickets,
with perfect shadows.
Is it there to hold in or keep out?
Or is it just there?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

In May, along the river walk,
an abundance of pink wild roses, snarly branches,
rival our well-planned gardens
with their playfulness.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

My sister’s husband deferred retirement
so they would have more money.
She died the month before their trip to the Amazon.
He cancelled their plans and never went back to work.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Written in response to the prompt I’m offering for dVerse Meeting the Bar–Patterns. I’ve included patterns in the structure of the poem, using a short verse from one of Mary Oliver’s poems as the refrain. As a topic, I’m aiming to challenge over-reliance on the importance of patterns in our own lives.

And speaking of freedom and maybe a bit of the wild life, the Burners are invading Reno–that is, those who will be attending Burning Man, an event that celebrates art and culture. During this week, the Black Rock Desert, a Playa about 90 miles north of us, will become the third largest city in Nevada with upwards of 70,000 attendees. Check it out!

The Pub opens soon, 3:00 EDT. I hope you will join us with a poem based on this idea and look forward to reading your work.

Photo: NYT

Photo: NYT

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33 thoughts on “Your Wild and Precious Life–dVerse Meeting the Bar

  1. rmp says:

    I like how you used the quote throughout. The patterns you chose to highlight reflect well with the refrain. fences definitely are an interesting beast (as I believe you’ve mentioned before)…I find–maybe because of my recent pondering on interpretation–their purpose belonging to the one who put it there, but their meaning transformed in the eyes of those who pass it by.

    Like

  2. kaykuala says:

    She died the month before their trip to the Amazon.
    He cancelled their plans and never went back to work.

    It’s sad when one’s plans for a loved one is stunted. One can only plan but Providence wills it, so they say! Great write Victoria!

    Hank

    Like

  3. Thought provoking… a haunting poignant air that really sinks into heart & soul.

    Like

  4. Poet Laundry says:

    The questions you ask in this poem are deep…and you make us think with the appearance of the roses, and then that twist when life takes an unexpected turn. With Mary Oliver’s words the sense of urgency to live and enjoy and not take an moment for granted is enhanced.

    Like

  5. Bodhirose says:

    The ending of this was so poignant, Victoria…no matter how we may plan, sometimes the Universe has something else in mind. You made me realize that there is order to even the wildness around us…perhaps even for those who attend Burning Man! I saw a documentary on Burning Man once…that is one wild party.

    Like

  6. Mama Zen says:

    I love the way you’ve used structure and repetition. It works really well.

    Like

  7. Steve Shultz says:

    I love your refrain; it gives me shivers.

    Like

  8. humbird says:

    This theme, Victoria, is so so global! So many aspects and points of view… The patterns we use to master our skills, but not aligned with real purpose – they lose their meaning…like in your poem the fence, the money and sadly… life. ~ Beautiful poem with so meaningful multifaceted ,in your interpretation, refrain with words by Mary Oliver

    Like

  9. Kathy says:

    Nicely done with pattern the theme here…and the quote from m. o. goes perfectly with your poem.

    Like

  10. ManicDdaily says:

    You raise serious questions beautifully. k.

    Like

  11. MarinaSofia says:

    I’ve always loved that quote – and you have some very poignant examples there of the beauty but also danger of over-reliance on patterns and habits.

    Like

  12. I’m so often thinking about things I can no longer do that I forget to do the things I CAN do. Thank you, Victoria, for the wake-up call.

    Like

  13. Rallentanda says:

    Wonderful thought provoking poem
    Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
    Well absolutely nothing that will be impressive or anything to boast about 🙂

    One of your best Victoria !

    Like

  14. lynndiane says:

    I love the quote from Mary Oliver that you used as a refrain…excellent question to ask, excellent points to ponder…

    Like

  15. yelena says:

    this poem truly helps to appreciate the moment, Victoria. loved this.

    Like

  16. We think we have it all under control. Your beautiful poem tells the other side and with the repeating verses drives it home.

    Like

  17. Jeff says:

    Ahhh. Mary Oliver. And what you did with her lines is superb. That second stanza, “A perfect fence,” is powerful. Great writing here!

    Like

  18. Mary says:

    I really like the lines you chose of Mary Oliver’s. It really makes a person think about what they have done or still wish to do with one’s life. So sad about your sister and her husband. I guess perhaps this shows we should not put off things we really want to do. And yes, those perfect fences…..sometimes I wonder why must there be fences at all.

    Like

  19. scillagrace says:

    Love this! Repost for wilderness week? My nephew will be at Burning Man, I think. 🙂

    Like

  20. billgncs says:

    good words to live by!

    Like

  21. Gabriella says:

    I like how you used Mary Oliver’s lines as a refrain and brought up your own questions and thoughts. The very sad story about your sister’s death contributes to the answer in a very poignant way.

    Like

  22. markwindham says:

    so easy it is to put off until tomorrow that which may never happen….

    Like

  23. Victoria I really did like the structure you used in this poem. Nature plays both great and hard tricks on us. Lessons to be learned from our everyday. So well written.

    Like

  24. I’m a fairly new poet. I’ve been writing for years, but just recently had the nerve to through some lines out there. Your work is really good. With some work and lucky, Maybe I can reach your level, too. Thanks.

    Like

  25. A beautiful tribute and call to life, this is a poem I want to wrap around me on cold nights, when I lose sight of the miracles of life. Thank you!

    Like

  26. Susan says:

    Love. Seize the day. Thank you for the prompt!

    Like

  27. Oh I love the use of the refrain – and one of my favorite quotes too – beautifully realized in the final stanza – the saddest story – Lovely write, Victoria -K

    Like

  28. i hope i’m not misspelling it..but as i remember the tale for waiting for Goddit..Go do it..is the pattern i take…

    And so does Nike..

    the patterns..of truth..

    stay the same..for profits or prophets..it’s all the same..:)or similar but essence is what it is…;)

    Like

  29. Yes – as one gets older, I find, that question becomes more intense, more necessary, more focused. Yet, as we slow down, time runs faster. The answers are constantly in flux, and the choices are as seemingly random as when we first set out on our own. Lovely poem with its observations.

    Like

  30. brian miller says:

    oy I feel for him…when life happens like that…the reason for living can diminish….the echo of that question throughout…it is one we have to answer daily….

    Like

  31. Sumana Roy says:

    You’ve wonderfully used the refrain adding deep meaning to this unpredictable life…a beautiful and poignant write…

    Like

  32. Victoria, I really like the poignant question weaved with those questions.. it seems we are prone of never doing the right thing.. excellent little stories and so sad when the end comes when we are close to the goal.. really very valid piece of poetry.

    Like

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