On Poetry and Culture Shock

The Poet with his face in his hands

Suzanne passed on to me this poem by Mary Oliver, not knowing that I' m so much against "the Therapy Effect". I like Oliver's take on it not just because I agree with her but also because of her interesting images, although I dislike the broken-line effect.

You want to cry aloud for your
mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn't need anymore of that sound.

So if you're going to do it and can't
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can't
hold it in, at least go by yourself across

the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets

like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you

want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched

by the passing foil of the water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.

El Poeta con la cara entre las manos.

Quieres gritar por tus
errores. Pero la verdad es que el mundo
ya no necesita ese sonido.

Así que si vas a hacerlo y no puedes
impedirlo, si esa boquita no puede
contenerse, por lo menos ve solo, por

cuarenta praderas y cuarenta caídas oscuras
de agua y rocas hasta el lugar donde
las cataratas arrojan sábanas blancas

como locas, y hay una cueva detrás de todo ese
júbilo y diversión acuática y puedes
estar de pie allí debajo y chillar todo lo que

quieras y no molestar; puedes
mojarte en tu desesperación toda la tarde y aún así,
en una rama verde, con las alas apenas rozadas

por el brillo del agua, el tordo,
sacando pecho, le cantará
a la perfecta, durísima belleza universal.

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