The Whistler

By Mary Oliver

All of a sudden she began to whistle. By all of a sudden
I mean that for more than thirty years she had not
whistled. It was thrilling. At first I wondered, who was
in the house, what stranger? I was upstairs reading, and
she was downstairs. As from the throat of a wild and
cheerful bird, not caught but visiting, the sounds war-
bled and slid and doubled back and larked and soared. Continue reading

Magdalene—The Seven Devils

A poem by Marie Howe.

I don’t know much about Mary Magdalene, but this poem by Marie Howe is amazing. Apparently, the main description of Mary Magdalene in the Bible is in Luke, which says: “Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven devils had been cast out.” Somehow from that we turned her into a prostitute, as you do. Pope Gregory in 591 gave a sermon and referred to her as such — goodness know why — and it has stuck ever since. Continue reading

Clancy of the Overflow

I was reading about Banjo Paterson today and rediscovered this well-known poem.

Andrew “Banjo” Paterson wrote it during his time as a solicitor, when he took on a brief to chase up a man named Clancy, of the Overflow, for unpaid debts. He penned him a stern letter and received the response, “Clancy’s gone to Queensland droving, and we don’t know where he are.”

Continue reading