In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

“In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive.
© Back Bay Books, 1983.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”

~Pablo Neruda
100 Love Sonnets

I cannot find a reason for this; things float in vast clouds around my head, settle, invade all my kingdoms, spread alarm, confusion and pleasure, arouse, inflame, inspire, exalt and, above all things, cry loudly, piercingly. Ink, ink. Give us ink!

Ink, pen and paper seem the greatest necessities of my existence. I could go without food, without friends, without home or books, but without ink and paper, I should die

Anäis Nin, The Early Diary of Anäis Nin, Volume Two

“The muse is not an angelic voice that sits on your shoulder and sings sweetly. The muse is the most annoying whine. The muse isn’t hard to find, just hard to like – she follows you everywhere, tapping you on the shoulder, demanding that you stop doing whatever else you might be doing and pay attention to her.”

-Harlan Coben

INTERVIEWER

What is the best part of writing for you?

ANGELOU

Well, I could say the end. But when the language lends itself to me, when it comes and submits, when it surrenders and says, I am yours, darling—that’s the best part.

via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 119, Maya Angelou.

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