Category Archives: Mary Oliver

A Mary Oliver Poem

Song of the Builders

On a summer morning

I sat down

on a hillside

to think about God –

a worthy pastime.

 

Near me, I saw

a single cricket;

it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.

How great was its energy,

how humble its effort.

 

Let us hope

it will always be like this,

each of us going on

in our inexplicable ways

building the universe.

—-Mary Oliver

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Morning Poem

Every morning

the world

is created.

Under the orange pond

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

lavishly,

every morning,

whether or not

you have ever dared to be happy,

whether or not

you have ever dared to pray.

——Mary Oliver

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Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End?

 

Don’t call this world adorable, or useful, that’s not it.

It’s frisky, and a theater for more than fair winds.

The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil.

The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold.

 

But the blue rain sinks, straight to the white

feet of the trees

whose mouths open

Doesn’t the wind, turning in circles, invent the dance?

Haven’t the flowers moved, slowly, across Asia, then Europe,

until at last, now, they shine

in your own yard?

 

Don’t call this world an explanation, or even an education.

 

When the Sufi poet whirled, was he looking

outward, to the mountains so solidly there

in a white-capped ring, or was he looking

to the center of everything: the seed, the egg, the idea

that was also there,

beautiful as a thumb

curved and touching the finger, tenderly,

little love-ring,

 

as he whirled,

oh jug of breath,

in the garden of dust?

——Mary Oliver

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Song of the Builders

On a summer morning

I sat down

on a hillside

to think about God –

 

a worthy pastime.

Near me, I saw

a single cricket;

it was moving the grains of the hillside

 

this way and that way.

How great was its energy,

how humble its effort.

Let us hope

 

 

it will always be like this,

each of us going on

in our inexplicable ways

building the universe.

Mary Oliver

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Morning Glories

Blue and dark-blue

Morning Glories

Morning Glories 

 

rose and deepest rose
white and pink they

are everywhere in the diligent
cornfield rising and swaying
in their reliable

finery in the little
fling of their bodies their
gear and tackle

all caught up in the cornstalks.
The reaper’s story is the story
of endless work of

work careful and heavy but the
reaper cannot
separate them out there they

are in the story of his life
bright random useless
year after year

taken with the serious tons
weeds without value
humorous beautiful weeds.

——Mary Oliver

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Fall Song

English: Falmer Pond Large village pond betwee...

Another year gone, leaving everywhere

its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – – -roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay – – – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

– Mary Oliver

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Song of the Builders

On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God –
a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside
this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope
it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.

—-Mary Oliver 

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemplation, Mary Oliver, Poetry