Mary Oliver Quotes

/ Author List / Mary Oliver

1. “Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

Tags : Life Lessons
Author : Mary Oliver

2. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Tags : Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver

3. “You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your kneesfor a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.Meanwhile the world goes on.Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rainare moving across the landscapes,over the prairies and the deep trees,the mountains and the rivers.Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,are heading home again.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 placein the family of things.”

Tags : Beauty Birds Nature Poetry Shore Woods
Author : Mary Oliver

4. “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”

Tags : Attention Life Poetry Work
Author : Mary Oliver

5. “All night my heart makes its wayhowever it can over the rough groundof uncertainties, but only until nightmeets and then is overwhelmed bymorning, the light deepening, thewind easing and just waiting, as Itoo wait (and when have I ever beendisappointed?) for redbird to sing”

Tags : Attention Mornings Physical Landscapes
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : A Thousand Mornings

6. “In your handsThe dog, the donkey, surely they know They are alive.Who would argue otherwise?But now, after years of consideration, I am getting beyond that.What about the sunflowers? What about The tulips, and the pines?Listen, all you have to do is start and There’ll be no stopping.What about mountains? What about water Slipping over rocks?And speaking of stones, what about The little ones you can Hold in your hands, their heartbeats So secret, so hidden it may take yearsBefore, finally, you hear them?”

Tags : Geology Mystery Nature Poetry Praying
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

7. “"Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness.”

Tags : Beauty Nature Prettiness Snow Winter Winter Night
Author : Mary Oliver

8. “Be prepared. A dog is adorable and noble.A dog is a true and loving friend. A dogis also a hedonist.”

Tags : Animals Dogs Sneaky
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dog Songs

9. “Listen--are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”

Tags : Life Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver

10. “The Uses Of Sorrow(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)Someone I loved once gave mea box full of darkness.It took me years to understandthat this, too, was a gift.”

Tags : Darkness Poetry Sorrow
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Thirst

11. “Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”

Tags : Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : A Poetry Handbook

12. “The Poet With His Face In His HandsYou want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn’t need anymore of that sound.So if you’re going to do it and can’t stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can’t hold it in, at least go by yourself acrossthe forty fields and the forty dark inclines of rocks and water to the place where the falls are flinging out their white sheetslike crazy, and there is a cave behind all that jubilation and water fun and you can stand there, under it, and roar all youwant and nothing will be disturbed; you can drip with despair all afternoon and still, on a green branch, its wings just lightly touchedby the passing foil of the water, the thrush, puffing out its spotted breast, will sing of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.”

Tags : Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2

13. “How I go to the woodsOrdinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a singlefriend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can siton the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almostunhearable sound of the roses singing.If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must loveyou very much.”

Tags : Nature Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

14. “Still, what I want in my lifeis to be willingto be dazzled—to cast aside the weight of factsand maybe evento float a littleabove this difficult world.”

Tags : Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver

15. “The JourneyOne day you finally knewwhat you had to do, and began,though the voices around youkept shoutingtheir bad advice --though the whole housebegan to trembleand you felt the old tugat your ankles."Mend my life!"each voice cried.But you didn't stop.You knew what you had to do,though the wind priedwith its stiff fingersat the very foundations,though their melancholywas terrible.It was already lateenough, and a wild night,and the road full of fallenbranches and stones.But little by little,as you left their voices behind,the stars began to burnthrough the sheets of clouds,and there was a new voicewhich you slowlyrecognized as your own,that kept you companyas you strode deeper and deeperinto the world,determined to dothe only thing you could do --determined to savethe only life you could save.”

Tags : Courage Poetry Strength
Author : Mary Oliver

16. “to live in this worldyou must be ableto do three thingsto love what is mortal;to hold itagainst your bones knowingyour own life depends on it;and, when the time comes to let it go,to let it go”

Tags : Excerpt From In Blackwater Woods Poem Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

17. “I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”

Tags : Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

18. “Every springI hear the thrush singingin the glowing woodshe is only passing through.His voice is deep,then he lifts it until it seemsto fall from the sky.I am thrilled.I am grateful.Then, by the end of morning,he's gone, nothing but silenceout of the treewhere he rested for a night.And this I find acceptable.Not enough is a poor life.But too much is, well, too much.Imagine Verdi or Mahlerevery day, all day.It would exhaust anyone.”

Tags : Birds Birdsong Music Nature Serenity Spring Springtime
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : A Thousand Mornings

19. “You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”

Tags : Inspiration Life Whimsy
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Wild Geese

20. “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

Tags : Box Darkness Gift Love
Author : Mary Oliver

21. “There are things you can’t reach. ButYou can reach out to them, and all day long.The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god.And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier.I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing aroundAs though with your arms open.”

Tags : Seeing Spirituality
Author : Mary Oliver

22. “Why I Wake Early Hello, sun in my face.Hello, you who made the morningand spread it over the fieldsand into the faces of the tulipsand the nodding morning glories,and into the windows of, even, themiserable and the crotchety – best preacher that ever was,dear star, that just happensto be where you are in the universeto keep us from ever-darkness,to ease us with warm touching,to hold us in the great hands of light –good morning, good morning, good morning.Watch, now, how I start the dayin happiness, in kindness.”

Tags : Love Spirituality
Author : Mary Oliver

23. “And now you'll be telling storiesof my coming backand they won't be false, and they won't be truebut they'll be real”

Tags : False Reality Return Stories True
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : A Thousand Mornings

24. “PrayingIt doesn’t have to bethe blue iris, it could beweeds in a vacant lot, or a fewsmall stones; justpay attention, then patcha few words together and don’t tryto make them elaborate, this isn’ta contest but the doorwayinto thanks, and a silence in whichanother voice may speak.”

Tags : Praying
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Thirst

25. “I wanted the past to go away, I wanted to leave it, like another country; I wanted my life to close, and open like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song where it falls down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery; I wanted to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,whoever I was, I wasalive for a little while.”

Tags : Change Life Living Past Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dream Work

26. “After a cruel childhood, one must reinvent oneself. Then reimagine the world.”

Tags : Childhood Trauma Healing Rebirth Reinvention Suffering
Author : Mary Oliver

27. “A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world and the responsibilities of your life.Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away. Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.In the glare of your mind, be modest.And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.”

Tags : Advice For Daily Living Flare Poetry Of Life Poetry Quotes Life
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : The Leaf And The Cloud: A Poem

28. “...eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in…And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a starBoth intimate and ultimate, And you will be heart-shaken and respectful. And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisperOh let me, for a while longer, enter the twoBeautiful bodies of your lungs...Look, and look again.This world is not just a little thrill for your eyes.It’s more than bones.It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.It’s more than the beating of a single heart.It’s praising.It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.You have a life- just imagine that!You have this day, and maybe another, and maybeStill another…And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned, I have become younger.And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world. ”

Tags : Beauty Life Lessons Living Life To The Fullest Love Lovingkindness Wisdom
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Evidence: Poems

29. “The part of the psyche that works in concert with consciousness and supplies a necessary part of the poem - the heat of a star as opposed to the shape of a star, let us say - exists in a mysterious, unmapped zone: not unconscious, not subconscious, but cautious. It learns quickly what sort of courtship it is going to be. Say you promise to be at your desk in the evenings, from seven to nine. It waits, it watches. If you are reliably there, it begins to show itself - soon it begins to arrive when you do. But if you are only there sometimes and are frequently late or inattentive, it will appear fleetingly, or it will not appear at all.”

Tags : Creative Process Grit
Author : Mary Oliver

30. “Love SorrowLove sorrow. She is yours now, and you musttake care of what has beengiven. Brush her hair, help herinto her little coat, hold her hand,especially when crossing a street. For, think,what if you should lose her? Then you would besorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessnesswould be yours. Take care, touchher forehead that she feel herself not soutterly alone. And smile, that she does notaltogether forget the world before the lesson.Have patience in abundance. And do notever lie or ever leave her even for a momentby herself, which is to say, possibly, again,abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult,sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child.And amazing things can happen. And you may see,as the two of you gowalking together in the morning light, howlittle by little she relaxes; she looks about her;she begins to grow.”

Tags : Pain Poetry Sorrow
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Red Bird

31. “You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing. But, listen to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without doubt,I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.”

Tags : Knowledge Pure Trust Youth
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : West Wind

32. “I tell you thisto break your heart,by which I mean onlythat it break open and never close againto the rest of the world.”

Tags : Lead
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2

33. “It's not a competition, it's a doorway.”

Tags : Eileen Granfors Mary Oliver Opportunity
Author : Mary Oliver

34. “It does no good to bark at the television,I said. I’ve tried it too. So he stopped.”

Tags : Barking Dogs Humor
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : House of Light

35. “A carpenter is hired- a roof repaired, a porch built. Everything that can be fixed. June, July, August. Everyday we hear their laughter. I think of the painting by van Gogh, the man in the chair. Everything wrong, and nowhere to go. His hands over his eyes.”

Tags : Art Broken Death And Dying Death Of A Loved One Family Family Relationships Mary Oliver Van Gogh
Author : Mary Oliver

36. “Come with me into the woods where spring isadvancing, as it does, no matter what,not being singular or particular, but oneof the forever gifts, and certainly visible.”

Tags : Eternity Forever Mother Nature Spring
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dog Songs

37. “I know many lives worth living.”

Tags : Oliver Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver

38. “Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.Let me keep company always with those who say "Look!" and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.”

Tags : Mystery Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Evidence: Poems

39. “I believe you did not have a happy life.I believe you were cheated.I believe your best friends were loneliness and misery.I believe your busiest enemies were anger and depression.I believe joy was a game you could never play without stumbling.I believe comfort, though you craved it, was forever a stranger.I believe music had to be melancholy or not at all.I believe no trinket, no precious metal, shone so bright as your bitterness.I believe you lay down at last in your coffin none the wiser and unassuaged.Oh, cold and dreamless under the wild, amoral, reckless, peaceful flowers of the hillsides.”

Tags : Bitterness Sadness Sorrow
Author : Mary Oliver

40. “oxygen Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even, while it calls the earth its home, the soul. So the merciful, noisy machine stands in our house working away in its lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel before the fire, stirring with a stick of iron, letting the logs lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room, are in your usual position, leaning on your right shoulder which aches all day. You are breathing patiently; it is a beautiful sound. It is your life, which is so close to my own that I would not know where to drop the knife of separation. And what does this have to do with love, except everything? Now the fire rises and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red roses of flame. Then it settles to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift: our purest, sweet necessity: the air.”

Tags : Air Breathing Death Dying Love Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Thirst

41. “That timeI thought I could notgo any closer to griefwithout dyingI went closer,and I did not die.Surely Godhad his hand in this,as well as friends.Still, I was bent,and my laughter,as the poet said,was nowhere to be found.Then said my friend Daniel,(brave even among lions),“It’s not the weight you carrybut how you carry it -books, bricks, grief -it’s all in the wayyou embrace it, balance it, carry itwhen you cannot, and would not,put it down.”So I went practicing.Have you noticed?Have you heardthe laughterthat comes, now and again,out of my startled mouth?How I lingerto admire, admire, admirethe things of this worldthat are kind, and maybealso troubled -roses in the wind,the sea geese on the steep waves,a loveto which there is no reply?”

Tags : Grief Healing Joy Loss Love
Author : Mary Oliver

42. “Itlearns quickly what sort of courtship it is going to be.Say you promise to be at your desk in the evenings, fromseven to nine. It waits, it watches. If you are reliablythere, it begins to show itself—soon it begins to arrivewhen you do. But if you are only there sometimes andare frequently late or inattentive, it will appear fleetingly,or it will not appear at all.Why should it? It can wait. It can stay silent a lifetime.Who knows anyway what it is, that wild, silky partof ourselves without which no poem can live?”

Tags : Dedication Poetry Schedule Writing
Author : Mary Oliver

43. “If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb. (Don't Hesitate)”

Tags : Beauty In Nature Love Nature Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

44. “Last nightthe rainspoke to meslowly, saying, what joyto come fallingout of the brisk cloud, to be happy againin a new wayon the earth! That’s what it saidas it dropped, smelling of iron, and vanishedlike a dream of the oceaninto the branchesand the grass below.Then it was over.The sky cleared.I was standingunder a tree.The tree was a treewith happy leaves, and I was myself, and there were stars in the skythat were also themselvesat the momentat which momentmy right handwas holding my left handwhich was holding the treewhich was filled with starsand the soft rain –imagine! imagine! the long and wondrous journeysstill to be ours.”

Tags : Beauty Happiness Inspirational Love Rain
Author : Mary Oliver

45. “As for the body, it is solid and strong and curiousand full of detail: it wants to polish itself; it wants to love another body; it is the only vessel in the world that can hold, in a mix of power and sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.”

Tags : Joy Love Sweetness Wisdom
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Evidence: Poems

46. “You’re like a little wild thingthat was never sent to school.”

Tags : Untamed Wilde
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dog Songs

47. “Here’s a story, and you don’t have to visit manyhouses to find it. One person is talking,the other one is not really listening.Someone can look like they are but they’reactually thinking about something theywant to say, or their minds are justwandering. Or they’re looking at thatlittle box people hold in their hands thesedays. And people get discouraged, so theyquit trying. And the very quiet people,you may have noticed, are often the sadpeople.”

Tags : Listening To Others Talking Too Much
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dog Songs

48. “Drive down any road,take a train or an airplaneacross the world, leaveyour old life behind,die and be born again~wherever you arrivethey'll be there first,glossy and rowdyand indistinguishable.The deep muscle of the world.”

Tags : Crows
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

49. “I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”

Tags : Making A Difference
Author : Mary Oliver

50. “The poem in which the reader does not feel himself or herself a participant is a lecture, listened to from an uncomfortable chair, in a stuffy room, inside a building.”

Tags : Poets On Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems

51. “But I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also all the good attachments to that origin that we can keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its graceful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the senses, and the beauty of forest and ocean and rain and our own breath. There is not a dog that romps and runs but we learn from him.The other dog—the one that all its life walks leashed and obedient down the sidewalk—is what a chair is to a tree. It is a possession only, the ornament of a human life. Such dogs can remind us of nothing large or noble or mysterious or lost. They cannot make us sweeter or more kind.Only unleashed dogs can do that. They are a kind of poetry themselves when they are devoted not only to us but to the wet night, to the moon and the rabbit-smell in the grass and their own bodies leaping forward.”

Tags : Animals Dogs Freedom Off Leash Restrictions
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dog Songs

52. “EVERY DOG’S STORYI have a bed, my very own.It’s just my size.And sometimes I like to sleep alonewith dreams inside my eyes.But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepyand I wake and am afraid, though I don’t know why.But I’m no longer sleepyand too slowly the hours go by.So I climb on the bed where the light of the moonis shining on your faceand I know it will be morning soon.Everybody needs a safe place.”

Tags : Animals Dogs Dogs Loyalty Love Safe
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dog Songs

53. “It is one of the perils of our so-called civilized age that we do not yet acknowledge enough, or cherish enough, this connection between soul and landscape - between our own best possibilities, and the view from our own windows. We need the world as much as it needs us, and we need it in privacy, intimacy, and surety. We need the field from which the lark rises - bird that is more than itself, that is the voice of the universe: vigorous, godly job. Without the physical world such hope it: hacked off. Is: dried up. Without wilderness no fish could leap and flash, no deer could bound soft as eternal waters over the field; no bird could open its wings and become buoyant, adventurous, valorous beyond even the plan of nature. Nor could we.”

Tags : Beauty Of Nature Hope Nature Physical World
Author : Mary Oliver

54. “Okay, I said. But remember, you can’t fixeverything in the world for everybody.“However,” said Ricky, “you can’t doanything at all unless you begin. Haven’tI heard you say that once or twice, ormaybe a hundred times?”

Tags : Beginning Something New Don T Give Up Fixing Things
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dog Songs

55. “Look, hasn't my body already felt like the body of a flower?”

Tags : Body Flowers
Author : Mary Oliver

56. “It's very important to write things down instantly, or you can lose the way you were thinking out a line. I have a rule that if I wake up at 3 in the morning and think of something, I write it down. I can't wait until morning -- it'll be gone."[Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver (O Magazine, March 2011)]”

Tags : Aide Memoire Creative Process Ideas Memory Notes Writing
Author : Mary Oliver

57. “How heron comesIt is a negligence of the mindnot to notice how at duskheron comes to the pond andstands there in his death robes, perfectservant of the system, hungry, his eyesfull of attention, his wingspure light”

Tags : Mindfulness Nature Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

58. “Let them imitate and imitate - and learn and learn....who has not seen a young painter in a museum intently copying a Vermeer or a van Gogh, and believing himself on the way to learning something valuable?Emotional freedom, the integrity and special quality of one's work - are not first things, but final things. Only the patient and diligent, as well as the inspired, get there.”

Tags : Imitation
Author : Mary Oliver

59. “When a man says he hears angels singing,he hears angels singing.”

Tags : Believing Occurence
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : A Thousand Mornings

60. “The Old Poets Of ChinaWherever I am, the world comes after me.It offers me its busyness. It does not believethat I do not want it. Now I understandwhy the old poets of China went so far and highinto the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.”

Tags : Poetry Solitude
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Why I Wake Early

61. “In Blackwater WoodsLook, the treesare turningtheir own bodiesinto pillarsof light,are giving off the richfragrance of cinnamonand fulfillment,the long tapersof cattailsare bursting and floating away overthe blue shouldersof the ponds,and every pond,no matter what itsname is, isnameless now.Every yeareverythingI have ever learnedin my lifetimeleads back to this: the firesand the black river of losswhose other sideis salvation,whose meaningnone of us will ever know.To live in this worldyou must be ableto do three things:to love what is mortal;to hold itagainst your bones knowingyour own life depends on it;and, when the time comes to let it go,to let it go.”

Tags : Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

62. “The woods that I loved as a child are entirely gone. The woods that I loved as a young adult are gone. The woods that most recently I walked in are not gone, but they’re full of bicycle trails. And this is happening to the world, and I think it is very very dangerous for our future generations, those of us who believe that the world is not only necessary to us in its pristine state, but it is in itself an act of some kind of spiritual thing. I said once, and I think this is true, the world did not have to be beautiful to work. But it is. What does that mean?[from 'A Thousand Mornings' With Poet Mary Oliver for NPR Books]”

Tags : Forest Nature Woods
Author : Mary Oliver

63. “I Go Down To The ShoreI go down to the shore in the morningand depending on the hour the wavesare rolling in or moving out,and I say, oh, I am miserable,what shall—what should I do? And the sea saysin its lovely voice:Excuse me, I have work to do.”

Tags : Nature Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : A Thousand Mornings

64. “You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your kneesfor a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

Tags : Nature Poetry Self Acceptance
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Red Bird

65. “Why should I have been surprised?Hunters walk the forestwithout a sound.The hunter, strapped to his rifle,the fox on his feet of silk,the serpent on his empire of muscles—all move in a stillness,hungry, careful, intent.Just as the cancerentered the forest of my body,without a sound.”

Tags : Cancer Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Blue Horses

66. “Love, love, love, says Percy.And hurry as fast as you canalong the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.Then, go to sleep.Give up your body heat, your beating heart.Then, trust.”

Tags : Dogs
Author : Mary Oliver

67. “LITTLE DOGS RHAPSODY IN THE NIGHT(PERCY THREE)He puts his cheek against mineand makes small, expressive sounds.And when I'm awake, or awake enoughhe turns upside down, his four pawsin the airand his eyes dark and fervent.Tell me you love me, he says.Tell me again.Could there be a sweeter arrangement?Over and overhe gets to ask it.I get to tell.”

Tags : Dogs
Author : Mary Oliver

68. “I have a little dog who likes to nap with me.He climbs on my body and puts his face in my neck.He is sweeter than soap.He is more wonderful than a diamond necklace,which can't even bark...”

Tags : Dogs
Author : Mary Oliver

69. “The sweetness of dogs (fifteen) What do you say, Percy? I am thinkingof sitting out on the sand to watchthe moon rise. Full tonight.So we goand the moon rises, so beautiful it makes me shudder, makes me think abouttime and space, makes me takemeasure of myself: one iotapondering heaven. Thus we sit,I thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s perfect beauty and also, oh! How richit is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile, leans against me and gazes up intomy face. As though I werehis perfect moon.”

Tags : Dogs Inspirational Love Nature Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

70. “Percy wakes me (fourteen)Percy wakes me and I am not ready.He has slept all night under the covers.Now he’s eager for action: a walk, then breakfast.So I hasten up. He is sitting on the kitchen counter Where he is not supposed to be. How wonderful you are, I say. How clever, if you Needed me, To wake me. He thought he would a lecture and deeply His eyes begin to shine.He tumbles onto the couch for more compliments.He squirms and squeals: he has done something That he needed And now he hears that it is okay. I scratch his ears. I turn him over And touch him everywhere. He isWild with the okayness of it. Then we walk, then He has breakfast, and he is happy.This is a poem about Percy.This is a poem about more than Percy.Think about it.”

Tags : Dogs Happiness Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

71. “And then I feel the sun itselfas it blazes over the hills,like a million flowers on fire --clearly I'm not needed,yet I feel myself turninginto something of inexplicable value.-from The Buddha's Last Instruction”

Tags : Mary Oliver Poem Poetry Sun
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

72. “DAISIESIt is possible, I suppose that sometimewe will learn everythingthere is to learn: what the world is, for example,and what it means. I think this as I am crossingfrom one field to another, in summer, and themockingbird is mocking me, as one who eitherknows enough already or knows enough to beperfectly content not knowing. Song being bornof quest he knows this: he must turn silentwere he suddenly assaulted with answers. Insteadoh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselesslyunanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies displaythe small suns of their center piece, their -- if you don'tmind my saying so -- their hearts. Of courseI could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale andnarrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know?But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;for example -- I think thisas I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch --the suitability of the field for the daisies, and thedaisies for the field.”

Tags : Poem
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Why I Wake Early

73. “Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending the rules”

Tags : Rules
Author : Mary Oliver

74. “West Wind #2You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing. But listen to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me. Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life toward it.”

Tags : Carpe Diem Heart Joy Love Open Heart Open Mind
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : West Wind

75. “I mean, by such flightiness, something that feels unsatisfied at the center of my life — that makes me shaky, fickle, inquisitive, and hungry. I could call it a longing for home and not be far wrong. Or I could call it a longing for whatever supersedes, if it cannot pass through, understanding. Other words that come to mind: faith, grace, rest. In my outward appearance and life habits I hardly change — there’s never been a day that my friends haven’t been able to say, and at a distance, “There’s Oliver, still standing around in the weeds. There she is, still scribbling in her notebook.” But, at the center: I am shaking; I am flashing like tinsel. Restless. I read about ideas. Yet I let them remain ideas. I read about the poet who threw his books away, the better to come to a spiritual completion. Yet I keep my books. I flutter; I am attentive, maybe I even rise a little, balancing; then I fall back.”

Tags : Doubt Home Longing
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Long Life: Essays and Other Writings

76. “On the beach, at dawn:Four small stones clearlyHugging each other.How many kinds of loveMight there be in the world,And how many formations might they makeAnd who am I everTo imagine I could knowSuch a marvelous business?When the sun brokeIt poured willingly its lightOver the stonesThat did not move, not at all,Just as, to its always generous term,It shed its light on me,My own body that loves, Equally, to hug another body.”

Tags : Light Love Nature Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

77. “The man who has many answersis often foundin the theaters of informationwhere he offers, graciously,his deep findings.While the man who has only questions,to comfort himself, makes music.”

Tags : Answers Comfort Music Questions
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : A Thousand Mornings

78. “Listen, whatever you see and love—that’s where you are.”

Tags : Home Love
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Dog Songs

79. “When it’s over, I want to say: all my lifeI was a bride married to amazement.I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.When it’s over, I don’t want to wonderif I have made of my life something particular, and real.I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightenedor full of argument.I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

Tags : Awe Being Life
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

80. “Do you think the wren ever dreams of a better house?”

Tags : Minimalism Simplicity
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Blue Pastures

81. “Percy and BooksPercy does not like it when I read a book.He puts his face over the top of it, and moans.He rolls his eyes, sometimes he sneezes.The sun is up, he says, and the wind is down.The tide is out, and the neighbor's dogs are playing.But Percy, I say, Ideas! The elegance of language!The insights, the funniness, the beautiful storiesthat rise and fall and turn into strength, or courage.Books? says Percy. I ate one once, and it was enough. Let's go.”

Tags : Dogs Poetry
Author : Mary Oliver
Source : Red Bird