“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?”
– Mary Oliver from ASummer Day
“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. ”
“It is what I was born for -to look, to listen,to lose myselfinside this soft world -to instruct myself over and over . . . ”
Declaring Walt Whitman her hero and the brother she never had, Mary Oliver longed to know and become one with what she saw. Awed by the singing of goldfinches or, as in the poem “White Flowers,” overcome by a long nap in a field, she believed in an “attitude of noticing.” When she opened her senses, nature revealed its details.
With over 20 poetry books, Ms Oliver received a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for her collection, “American Primitive.” She won a National Book Award in 1992 for “New and Selected Poems.”
We have her poems to remind us of Mary Oliver’s gratitude and adoration of nature.
“Never in my life
had I felt myself so near
that porous line
where my own body was done with
and the roots and the stems and the flowers
“Six a.m. – the small pond turtle lifts its head into the air like a green toe. It looks around. What it sees is the whole world swirling back from darkness.”
“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – –
Over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”
“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 into my arms.”