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Not the Poetry of Mary Oliver, But Still (I think) Strangely Compelling

October 1, 2010

I just found out about the song, “Miracles” by Detroit-based rap duo, Insane Clown Posse. In typical gangsta rap style, it’s a profanity laced rap about the wonders and beauty of the natural world, calling it all “miracles.” And for some reason, this innocuous (and to me, kind of sweet) song has inspired many people to make fun of Insane Clown Posse. No one turns up their nose when they rap about violence and sex while wearing clown make-up, but when they get kind of soulful and even sweet, that’s when everyone decides to turn on them?

Of course, I’m thinking of all this because we’re in the middle of our Adult Ed series, “God of Dirt” for which we’re reading Mary Oliver’s poetry and scripture and discussing how we commune with God in nature.

Here’s a taste of the lyrics of “Miracles”:

I have seen miracles in every way
and I have seen miracles every day,
oceans expanding beyond my site,
and a million stars way above ’em at night.
We don’t have to be high to look in the sky,
and know that is a miracle open wide.
Look at the mountains, trees, the seven seas,
and everything chillin under water–please,
hot lava, snow, rain and fog,
long neck giraffes, pet cats and dogs.

And here’s Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J (yes, that’s his name, Violent J) discussing the push-back against the song in an interview with the Onion AV Club:

We’ve always had deeper songs and more emotional stuff on our music. The whole idea of what ‘Miracles’ is to me sums up the band. It’s like, of course these things we’re talking about aren’t real miracles, according to what a miracle is in Webster’s Dictionary or whatever. But anybody that can stand there, looking at a rain forest or something and not think that’s a miracle — I mean, that’s their loss. Anybody that can sit there and look at shooting stars or a [expletive] full moon when it’s red and hanging over the city and not sit there and think, ‘That looks awesome, and that’s a miracle that we get to see that and have that on this earth and all this [expletive],’ you know, that’s their loss. Instead, everybody just makes fun of us because we said it. It’s like, that’s [expletive] up. We will say it, and we’ll continue to say it, and think that.

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