by Mary Oliver
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
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
And if your spirit
carries within it
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
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”
a wise and gentle soul she has
Very much enjoyed reading the “Souther Guilt, Southern Gospel” article!!
Thanks, Mule. I struggle to keep it updated at times, but I’m glad to know you find it helpful.
Interesting thought: Someone dared me to be happy.
More interesting: Someone dared me to be happy and I took the dar.
Oh, my… that is absolutely wonderful!!!
I am a Mary Oliver fan as well.
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.
It appears that I am not the only one who is getting through this pandemic by reading poetry.
So many help. So much beauty.
I absolutely recommend Pure Water: Poetry of Rumi. an audio book with poetry and music. It’s wonderful.
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,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
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 exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver
(c) Mary Oliver
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
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.
‘I don’t care how many angels can
dance on the head of a pin.
to know that for some people
and that they dance.’