Mary Oliver (1935-2019)

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

—Mary Oliver


Last week I decided I needed to try to ground myself because everything felt like it was spinning out of my control. (Silly human.) So I went searching for poems by my favorite poet, Mary Oliver.

If you’ve never gotten into poetry because a lot of it sounds abstract and makes your head ache, reading Mary Oliver, who was quoted as saying that “poetry mustn’t be fancy,” might make you change your mind about poetry.

My first memories involve the natural world of which I’ve always felt awe. It was fate that I would fall in love with Mary Oliver’s poetry as it encompasses a child’s wonder at the natural world and integrates an adult’s ability to tie nature with the mystical, but not in an overly complex manner. Each time I read one of her poetry collections I lost myself in time, her thoughts and the simplistic beauty of her words; her thoughts and philosophy were not simplistic. They resonate with faith and hope. She could create images which were easy for you to see, painting pictures with words.

The world lost a great, unassuming poet today. Sadness lingers on this gray day. She will be missed.

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. 
an excerpt from “Wild Geese” from Mary Oliver’s book Dream Work
Here are some links to her poetry for you to read more.

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