Hard Questions

dreamstime_m_15072859Lawyers aren’t exactly known for reading poetry.  We are that tough, testosterone-charged profession that has little use for sentimental notions and nebulous ideas.  We rule the rational world.  We don’t have time for stuff as amorphus as metaphor.  People who read poetry are tree-hugging, flower-sniffing sentimentalists, who have no idea of what it takes to make it in the real world.

At least that’s what we tell ourselves.  I, for one, find that way of thinking a little silly.

We, as lawyers, desperately need not only the poet’s insight and power of attention, but also the guts to ask the question poems frequently ask—If you can’t appreciate (or even notice) the abundant gifts life offers you everyday, where did you lose your soul and how will you get it back?

That’s the question Mary Oliver (a poet not exactly known for poems with hard edges) asks  here.

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful

 than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

 and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again

 out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

 streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

 that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

 as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–

 or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

 Mary Oliver

The Sun

Featured image Sunset from Dreamstime 

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