On Thy Wondrous Works I Will Meditate


Mary Oliver’s On Thy Wondrous Works I Will Meditate is her reading of Psalm 145.  Mary Oliver — need I say more?

This is the 8th, and final, section.

Every morning I want to kneel down on the golden
cloth of the sand and say
some kind of musical thanks for
the world that is happening again—another day—
from the shawl of wind coming out of the
west to the firm green

flesh of the melon lately sliced open and
eaten, its chill and ample body
flavored with mercy. I want
to be worthy—of what? Glory? Yes, unimaginable glory.
O Lord of melons, of mercy, though I am
not ready, nor worthy, I am climbing toward you.

You can read the entire poem here.



Because I want to keep clear of copyright infringement, I never quote you a whole poem.  This time, however, I long to be able to show you the complete work.  It is that wonderful. Please click below to “read the entire poem.”

Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the
hour and the bell; grant me, in your
mercy, a little more time. Love for the
earth and love for you are having such a
long conversation in my heart.

You can read the entire poem here.

When Death Comes


Mary Oliver’s “When Death Comes” is famous for its lines, “I was a bride married to amazement./I was the bridegroom; taking the world into my arms” and “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”  The rest of the poem, however, is just as stunning.  Look at this section:

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

You can read the entire poem here.

Our endless and proper work…


I haven’t foisted any Mary Oliver on you for quite a while.  I don’t exactly know what it is about her over other poets, but she is the one I return to time and again.

How important it is to walk along, not in haste but slowly,
looking at everything and calling out

Yes! No!

The swan, for all his pomp, his robes of grass and petals, wants
only to be allowed to live on the nameless pond. The catbrier
is without fault. The water thrushes, down among the sloppy
rocks, are going crazy with happiness. Imagination is better
than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless
and proper work.

You can read the entire poem here.