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.


An Invitation to Happiness

PoppiesWe haven’t had any poetry in ages and no Mary Oliver for some considerable stretch.  Shame on me… and time to put things aright.

These lines are from her poem “Poppies.”

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it’s done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?

You can read the entire poem here.