Cheering for Barty: It’s Simply Poetry In Motion

We’re nearing the end of January. The Christmas and New Year of 2018 has come and gone. All the planning, stress and money spent have been packed away into various boxes (and guilty recesses of our minds) – ready for their return this coming December.

A new year has been thrust upon us and resolutions we’ve made are either in full swing or have been swiftly abandoned in favour of newer ones; our ‘get fit’ rhetoric not quite seemingly up to standard once we tuned in to watch the barrage of fit bodies at the Australian Open.

How many of us are wishing our parents had put racquets in our hands – or a tennis court in our backyard, as was famously done by the father of Andre Agassi?

Perhaps the casting aside of resolutions is a direct result of growing up: where the cynical voices tell us we’re probably too old and too fat to rule any court that Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas – or Ash Barty walks upon. 

We’ve come to what I am calling the business week of January, that first nod to the impending summer end. The week that hosts the now divided Australia Day date, and the return of the busy roads as we battle our way to a seat amongst the school kids.

I’m not going to tackle any of those subjects today (I’d really rather just cheer on Ash Barty tonight, think about resolutions and dreams – and pay a small tribute to a great poet – and fanciful dreamer.

Mary Oliver died on Thursday last week, at the age of eighty-three, at her home, in Hobe Sound, Florida. As tributes rolled in following her passing, I read articles about the inspiration she gave many. Inspiration that helped many not abandon their resolutions.

One of my favourites was the poignant account from The New Yorker, “Mary Oliver Helped Us Stay Amazed”.

Author Rachel Syme wrote; ….“hers were not poems about isolation, though, but about pushing beyond your own sense of emotional quarantine, even when you feel fear. Everywhere you look, in Oliver’s verse, you find threads of connectivity.”

Her work has never been more expressively current.

Oliver’s poetry used simple language to observe the profound. She wrote about nature, but in those poems, she was also tapping into spirituality, mortality, redemption and optimism. 

It was interesting to read of her abusive childhood; hardly the first and most definitely not the last who’ve turned great solace into great art. Perhaps its even the catalyst needed for us to keep those resolutions – to be better than we are today, to be the Federer of our own life.

Countless articles on the act of mindfulness point to meditation and consistent affirmations made up of simple, concise sentences or words that then act as life manifestations/energy (or resolutions, if you will) 

Isn’t that just like poetry in motion? An inspirational quote or a dream to be the next Federer?

I choose to see it that way so if you do abandon your resolution/s, simply start again ….. and call them dreams.

Don’t Hesitate

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

–Mary Oliver

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