in memory of Mary Oliver
It’s impossible to be lonely
when you’re zesting an orange.
Scrape the soft rind once
and the whole room
fills with fruit.
Look around: you have
more than enough.
You just didn’t notice
This poem appeared in Rattle magazine in January 2019, three days after the death of Mary Oliver, beloved poet of the present moment. In this brief yet profound poem, Schmidt captures the essence of Oliver’s attention to detail.
If you have never zested an orange, I suggest you do it now so that you will immediately understand what she means that the whole room / fills with fruit. Not just the scent of orange but the feel and taste and look of orange, its very presence in which you are not alone.
Then she invites us to realize that you have / more than enough. Not only do we have enough, we have always had enough. You just didn’t notice / until now. There is a quiet gratitude for this small gift that shows us our enough-ness in any moment.
It is true, is it not, that such a simple thing as the scent of citrus can remind us of the abundance in our lives. An abundance that has always been there, waiting for our attention, just like Mary Oliver taught in her poetry.
May the pungent or delicate scent of any fruit today bring you awake.