Rediscovering Tranquility and Wonderment


Tranquility is defined as a state free from disturbance, calm. Wonderment is defined as a state of awed admiration or respect. When is the last time we have allowed ourselves to experience either of these states, let alone both? How does one travel to these “states”? What prevents us from finding our way towards tranquility and wonderment? Or, maybe the question is, should we go in search of these alluring states? This will be the first part of a 4-part series in which I want to invite you to follow along with me in search of a path to these “states”; and I want to suggest we travel buckled in the vehicle of, poetry. You still with me? The mention of poetry didn’t cause you to recoil with a click, or a swipe, to close this page? OK then, here we go.

In the realm of poetry, Mary Oliver’s name stands tall as one of the most beloved and influential contemporary poets. Her verses resonate deeply with readers, including myself, connecting them to nature’s profound mysteries and the human experience. In her poem, “At Blackwater Pond,” Oliver captures the essence of her artistry and love for nature. Let us embark on a poetic journey, exploring the depth of this marvelous work and discovering the tranquility it offers, and maybe even a bit of wonderment.

So, today I invite you to climb aboard and interact with this poem. Maybe you could read this beside a creek, or even a pond. Maybe you could find a quiet corner in a room and spend some time imaging sitting at the edge of a pond and listening to the sounds you imagine you would hear. The picture above is an actual photograph I took recently while visiting Blackwater Pond on Cape Cod. Poems are intended to be read aloud, so listen for the breathtaking portrayal of a serene, pristine pond nestled in the heart of nature that you see in the picture. Then listen to Mary read her poem and let her emotional inflections lead you to the edge of the pond; allow yourself to search for any hint of tranquility you may sense.

In Part 2 we will reflect on aspects of this poem which may invite us back to the edge of Blackwater Pond.

At Blackwater Pond by Mary Oliver

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled

after a night of rain.

I dip my cupped hands. I drink

a long time. It tastes

like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold

into my body, waking the bones. I hear them

deep inside me, whispering

oh what is that beautiful thing

that just happened?

YouTube link Of Mary Oliver reading poem

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver – Hardback