Search Results for: label/Mary Oliver

Happy Birthday, Mary Oliver

The Writer’s Almanac tells us it’s Mary Oliver’s birthday today and features this poem from her. I don’t think she wrote anything I don’t like (she is the hippie poet extraordinaire, after all,) but I think this one is extra nice.


In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Friday Unrelated Information

1. The latest issue of O Magazine is all about poetry, and it includes an interview with Mary Oliver (our favorite). It’s a big deal because she doesn’t give interviews and is in her 80s. It’s also a delight. Some quotes:
There were times over the years when life was not easy, but if you’re working a few hours a day and you’ve got a good book to read, and you can go outside to the beach and dig for clams, you’re okay.
and:
It’s hard to meet a stranger—you give of yourself—and if I did that, I’d want to do it well.

(I’m stealing that one as an excuse not to meet people or go to social events.)

2. My inner hippie wants to use Khalil Gibran as a career planner. Let’s talk her out of that, shall we?
Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.