Mary Oliver Upstream: Selected Essays Penguin Press, (New York 2016)
So begins one of Mary Oliver’s short essays from this collection ‘Who cometh here?’about a black bear. This poor bear having struggled long and hard to reach Provincetown (‘crossing Massachusetts, swimming the channel, striding the length of the Cape’) got tranquilised and put in a van and returned to, as far as the rangers knew, the point where he had begun.
In any case, he didn’t come to stir up the Government, or open another café, or- heaven forbid – a fast food restaurant, or mouth off opinions about gay, antigay, or what he thought of the artists, or write endless complaining letters to the town paper.
‘Dear Bear,’ Oliver writes. ‘It’s no use the world is like that. So stay where you are and live long. Someday maybe we’ll wise up and remember what you were: hopeless ambassador of a world that returns now only in a poets’ dreams.’