what she read // poems by Mary Oliver

Sometime, I wonder how I’ve missed the boat on some people for so long.  Mary Oliver is one of those people.  I heard her name being bounced around with some of my friends for a while. I finally decided to delve into her writings, her poems that interlace mind, soul, and nature so effortlessly.


Her heart is so similar to mine.  She just finds a much more eloquent way of getting those thoughts out of her head. She is an inspiration to me in every aspect of that word.

I think the reason that she is one of America’s best selling poets is because she doesn’t seem to try to hard.  Her poems are accessible and easy to read.  They mix the dark, the witty, and the real into poems about her life and her passions, which mostly include the outdoors.  (No wonder I love her right?)  People connect with nature, whether they realize it or not, and I think Mary Oliver realizes that in its truest sense.

She has almost 30 collections of poetry.  I’ve only read a few, but can’t wait to continue to build my (very small) poetry collection.

Here’s some of my favorite poems:

I Have Decided

I have decided to find myself a home
in the mountains, somewhere high up
where one learns to live peacefully in
the cold and the silence. It’s said that
in such a place certain revelations may
be discovered. That what the spirit
reaches for my be eventually felt, if not
exactly understood.  Slowly, no doubt. I’m
not talking about a vacation.

Of course at the same time I mean to
stay exactly where I am.

Are you following me?

Sleeping In The Forest

I thought the earth
remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in winter, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better

Three Things To Remember

As long as you’re dancing, you can
break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just
extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.

And also short excerpt quotes:

forgetting, as men have always forgotten,
that life’s winners are not the rapacious but the patient;
what triumphs and takes new territory
has learned to lie for centuries in the shadows
like the shadows of the rocks.

I am
Possibly dangerous, I am
Entering the kingdom

The dream of my life
Is to lie down by a slow river
And stare at the light in the trees–
To learn something by being nothing
A little while but the rich
Lens of attention.
-Entering the Kingdom

It’s no wonder she won the Pulitzer Prize, right?


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