Molly Malone Cook & Our World

I am passionate about books – and so happened upon “Our World” today while in the bookstore. Needless to say a book about my favorite poet and her life had to come home with me. I have just finished spending part of the afternoon curled up in the easy chair reading it while enjoying a cup of green tea.

“Our World” is about Molly Malone Cook & Mary Oliver – who shared a partnership of over 40 years. Molly took the photographs in the book and the text is supplied my Mary. It’s a lovely book – if I had a significant other it would be a beautiful gift.

As I don’t at the moment – the book became a gift to myself.

Here is a gift for you, it’s one of my favorite excerpts from “Our World” which describes the lives of the two remarkable women, and artists, who built a rich partnership together. May we each be so very blessed.

It has frequently been remarked, about my own writings, that I emphasize the notion of attention. This began simply enough: to see that the way the flicker flies is greatly different from the way the swallow plays in the golden air of summer. It was my pleasure to notice such things, it was a good first step. But later, watching M. when she was taking photographs, and watching her in the darkroom, and no less watching the intensity and openness with which she dealt with friends, and strangers too, taught me what real attention is about. Attention without feeling, I began to learn, is only a report. An openness-an empathy-was necessary if the attention was to matter. Such openness and empathy M. had in abundance, and gave away freely. All the years I knew her she had this gift, which is also sometimes a burden, with our life friends, with me, and with the faces and even the objects that found their way into her pictures. I was in my late twenties and early thirties, and well filled with a sense of my own thoughts, my own presence. I was eager to address the world of words-to address the world with words. Then M. instilled in me this deeper level of looking and working, of seeing through the heavenly visibles to the heavenly invisibles. I think of this always looking at her photographs, the images of vitality, hopefulness, endurance, kindness, vulnerability. Her world certainly wasn’t daisies or birds or trees, as mine was; we each had our separate natures; yet our ideas, our influences upon each other, became a rich and abiding confluence.

Go read something beautiful and if you are especially blessed this afternoon read to someone beautiful.



2 Responses to “Molly Malone Cook & Our World”

  1. You know what’s funny….since I have begun this journey I have found out that so many of my favorite authors and poets are also lesbians. I am head over heels for Mary Oliver. I could soak up her words for hours and not notice the time pass. If my words are my first love, my photography is my second – so this book sounds like a delicious slice of heaven to me.

    MLC, I so love this blog. Always such lovely discoveries for me when I visit. Perhaps I was jumping the gun a little when I said soul mate the other day (hee hee), but I’m going to say a kindred spirit for sure.


  2. Oh shoot – not soulmates? My hopes were all standing straight up.

    I understood what you meant, I think enthusiasm is a rare and precious thing we should all use more of. There’s no time to be withholding- life might fly by.

    Besides you have read Eat Pray Love and I think the definition of “soul mate” in that book is right on.

    As far as lesbian authors, or musicians or photographers go — it gets “extra credit” from me but I can’t read it, listen to it etc. just because it’s a lesbian’s work.


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