Mary Oliver: Morning Poem

Morning Poem
by Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.


from Mary Oliver, Dream Work

13 thoughts on “Mary Oliver: Morning Poem

  1. Interesting thought: Someone dared me to be happy.

    More interesting: Someone dared me to be happy and I took the dar.


  2. Not going to comment on the poetry, but I do want to thank you for the recommends in the side bar.
    This is the least-appreciated feature of IMonk, yet I never fail to find the most thought-provoking material there.


  3. This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
    to break my heart
    as the sun rises,
    as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

    and they open —
    pools of lace,
    white and pink —
    and all day the black ants climb over them,

    boring their deep and mysterious holes
    into the curls,
    craving the sweet sap,
    taking it away

    to their dark, underground cities —
    and all day
    under the shifty wind,
    as in a dance to the great wedding,

    the flowers bend their bright bodies,
    and tip their fragrance to the air,
    and rise,
    their red stems holding

    all that dampness and recklessness
    gladly and lightly,
    and there it is again —
    beauty the brave, the exemplary,

    blazing open.
    Do you love this world?
    Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
    Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

    Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
    and softly,
    and exclaiming of their dearness,
    fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

    with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
    their eagerness
    to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
    nothing, forever?

    from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver

    (c) Mary Oliver


  4. Trudging, yes. Just got out of bed, and it’s all I could do. Now I’ll do the rest for the rest of the day. I don’t know if the earth is exactly what the beast in me wants, but the beast is there, it’s shouting for something, and the earth is not nothing, so it will have to do for the time being.

    just seeming to change
    in September, seasons don’t
    really change at all


  5. Mary Oliver is my ‘go to’ author/poet for the hard days and to bring extra joy to a restricted Covid19 existence.
    At my request, my daughter gave me a book of Mary Oliver’s poems. It sits next to my computer.



  6. ‘I don’t care how many angels can
    dance on the head of a pin.

    It’s enough
    to know that for some people
    they exist,
    and that they dance.’

    (Mary Oliver)


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