Mary Oliver

The light is everything

I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.
~ Mary Oliver

The Gift

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.
~ Mary Oliver

Don't worry

Don't worry.
How many roads did Saint Augustine follow
before he became Saint Augustine?

~ "Don't Worry" by Mary Oliver
Felicity: Poems
By Mary Oliver

Don't worry about what is reality

...don't worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it is all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love.

~ from "Logos" by Mary Oliver, in WHY I WAKE EARLY

Things! Burn them, burn them!

As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more
important. So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took everything.
I felt like the little donkey when
his burden is finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing—the reason they can fly.

~ excerpt from the poem "Storage" by Mary Oliver

The Uses of Sorrow

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

~ Mary Oliver
Thirst: Poems
By Mary Oliver

I don't know exactly what a prayer is

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?

~ excerpt from Mary Oliver's The Summer Day

I was a bride married to amazement

When it is over,
I want to say:
all my life I was a bride
married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking
the world in my arms.

 

~ Mary Oliver

A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world

A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world and the responsibilities of your life.

~ Mary Oliver

Prayer is a dipping of oneself toward the light

And as with prayer, which is a dipping of oneself toward the light, there is a consequence of attentiveness to the grass itself, and the sky itself, and to the floating bird. . . . I too dip myself toward the immeasurable.

~ from "Winter Hours" by Mary Oliver
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