“When the blackberries hang swollen in the woods, in the brambles nobody owns, I spend all day among the high branches, reaching my ripped arms, thinking of nothing, cramming the black honey of summer into my mouth; all day my body accepts what it is. In the dark creeks that run by there is this…
“This isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks.” religious prayers often are about two things: asking for something, and “giving god your worries/cares/concerns.” but for oliver it was always about noticing. about bringing herself back to what is happening wherever she was, whether it be with the lilacs or the weeds in a vacant…
beloved, your beloved name.
Every year around this time, I remember Mary Oliver and her passing. She passed away January 17, 2019. I remember the day and the feeling, and that it had already been a long week, and the news of her passing felt like one more thing. I know I often wax poetic about Oliver and her…
“finally, i saw”
Oliver, on leaving the cycle of worrying: “I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the riversflow in the right direction, will the earth turnas it was taught, and if not how shallI correct it? Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,can I do better? Will I ever be able to…
Remembering this poem by Mary Oliver today… My work is loving the world.Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird – equal seekers of sweetness.Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let mekeep my…
if you let me have the ordinary
“You may have the extraordinary for your province, if you will let me have the ordinary. Give me the obscure life, the cottage of the poor and humble, the workdays of the world, the barren fields, the smallest share of all things but poetic perception. Give me but the eyes to see the things which…
let me keep my mind on what matters
“Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” Mary Oliver (excerpt from “Messenger”) What is your work? Or rather, the work you most want…
shake with joy
Oliver again and again captures the complexity of how it feels to be alive.
Mary Oliver refers to humans as “soft animals” in her beloved poem “Wild Geese.” I think this alternate name for ourselves is a way of releasing our sometimes unmanageable expectations of ourselves. It is interesting that often when we are at the end of our rope we will say, “but I’m only human– I make…
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…