PF: Invitation

The closer one lives to the land, the less one distrusts time.
Hal Borland

I’ve been feeling scattered lately. Unsettled. Thinking a lot about time, life, choices. Trying to make sense of things. So far, I haven’t made much progress. It’s like I keep trying to walk a straight line on a curving path. I continually feel a bit askew. A bit lost.

About a week ago I stumbled upon David Wagoner’s poem, “Lost“. I’ve read it again and again and again since then. It begins like this:

“Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,”

I don’t know much, but I do know that anything I do to connect with the natural world yields rich dividends for me. I was struck by the idea that even when I may feel lost, the landscape around me (literal and metaphorical) is not. Whatever surrounds me is “Here” and worth meeting and knowing. My perspective of being lost is simply that, a perspective. As such, it can be changed.

The poem ends with these lines:

“If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
where you are. You must let it find you.”

So, over my much anticipated spring break, I wandered a bit, here and there. To the bay. To the river. To the woods. To the marsh. Seeking to reconnect with the natural world and with myself in some way. Trying to reconfigure the pieces into a cohesive whole. Trying to open myself to knowing the “here” and to letting the world around me find me.


Come sit a while
Don’t overlook
the simple wooden bench
on greening grass
Be open to the allure
of scudding clouds
budding tree
and bluest sky
Slough off your sorrow
Seek joy in blackbird’s call
Turn your face 
to the fledgling warmth
of spring sun
Let hope spark 
Open yourself
to a deeper knowing
Let this place
cast its spell
Come sit a while

©Molly Hogan

The Poetry Friday Roundup this week is at Jone Rush Macculloch’s blog.

33 thoughts on “PF: Invitation

  1. Sally Murphy says:

    Oh Molly, this is a beautiful, heartfelt post. I love the ‘Lost’ poem and will read it again many times, I suspect. I am sorry you have felt scattered and lost, and I hope that nature can help you heal and settle. From a fellow wanderer (mostly near water) I know that nature really does help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda Mitchell says:

    What honesty in, “I don’t know much, but I do know that anything I do to connect with the natural world yields rich dividends for me.” Reading this post is like reading a compass. I feel like I can find NORTH. Keep going Molly. You have so many beautiful poems in you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. heidimordhorst says:

    Yes, keep going, but also–sit a while. And another, and another. I adore that Wagoner poem and have used it with kids. It is both mysterious, almost endangering, and yet soothing and safe. Yours also offers pause and rest and grounding.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so gorgeous, Molly. There is so much beauty that we do overlook, but so much we lose when we don’t notice the “scudding clouds” or feel the “fledgling warmth” on our skin. Thank you for this invitation to “come sit a while.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, let this place cast a spell. Love the image. And thanks for introducing “scudding” to me. It’s been quite windy this April. I’ll check today for some scudding clouds.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lindabaie says:

    I recently read a post where someone discovered that when their “ever-crying” baby could not be settled, when they took her outside, she quieted. Like you, Molly, they learned the power of the out-of-doors. I’m sorry you’re experiencing a tough time, and always enjoy what you share from your outside times. The poem “Lost” then your response is comforting, the knowing of what can soothe. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. janicescully says:

    This is such a moving post. You put in to words what it is that renews me when I’m outside among the trees. “Come sit a while.” That wooden bench is so inviting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely sharing, Molly! I have this feeling from time to time also. I will look for the David Wagoner poem, and treasure your poem. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bridget Magee says:

    Thanks for the reminder that a bench under “scudding clouds” can be a place of magic. And thanks for the introduction to Wagoner’s poem. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Molly, the Wagoner poem and your “response” are a beautiful pairing. The invitation alone – to sit awhile and let a place cast its spell – is healing. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. cvarsalona says:

    I am ready to sit awhile, Molly, and let nature soak in its sunshine elements. You found your way back home through nature and your writing. Beautiful thought that holds wisdom:
    Open yourself
    to a deeper knowing

    Liked by 1 person

  12. tee+d says:

    Well, this is really lovely. I’m feeling that ‘unsettled’ with you; thanks for a reminder of that most reliable Rx.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Tabatha says:

    The magic of being present, of listening to Here. Sending you hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. maryleehahn says:

    Ahh…thank you for this invitation and reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Gosh, I know that feeling, Molly. Lots of stuff going on at the moment and feeling a bit disconnected and adrift myself. Your words — first prose than poetry — have captured much of it. Wishing you reconnection and clarity, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I know it’s a slightly different perspective, but your post also brought to mind the famous Tolkien quote from Fellowship of the Ring, “Not all those who wander are lost.” I”m glad I wandered over here today, Molly. This post and your poem helped to center me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I think that quote is actually quite connected (and it’s a favorite with my Tolkien loving family). I’m starting to think that a traveler might think they are lost, but maybe they are still on the path of their journey and need to come to know their new surroundings.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. margaretsmn says:

    I understand the feeling of being lost more than you know. I’ve found grounding in family lately. Your invitation to sit with you on the small wooden bench is calming. Your genuine empathy helps me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Karen Edmisten says:

    This is so beautiful, Molly. Your opening lines reminded me of words from Virginia Woolf: “Why is life so tragic; so like a little strip of pavement over an abyss. I look down; I feel giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end.” Wagoner’s poem offers such a healing antidote — it reminds me of Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things.” And the final words in your healing balm of a poem are reminding me of something, too, something out of my grasp (oooh, don’t you hate when that happens?) Perhaps it’s not so much a reminder as a call. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks! That quote from Virginia Wolf is … wow! I’m so glad you shared it. And “The Peace of Wild Things” is one of my all time favorites.


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