Mary Oliver’s poems are an invitation to give attention to the mundane, daily world. The mundane beautiful world.
They are an invitation to linger.
To watch a tree in the breeze.
Her work is gentle, and lyrical. Revelatory. And it makes “boring” feel good. It levels me after both success and failure. It’s always inviting and always celebrating the life in all forms around us.
The 3rd (out of 4) poem in her set “The 4th Sign of the Zodiac.”
“I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.
so why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.”