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Mary Oliver


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Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets, partly because she helps me feel gratitude--thanksgiving. When my thoughts get too negative, reading her work refreshes me with a deeper appreciation of simply being alive. She combines passion for the natural world, with a growing awareness of the divine. Though she has had her share of suffering and loss, she rarely complains --her language transforms even painful experience into song. Her voice is an instrument of wonder and grace.

 

 

Matins

 

Now we are awake

and now we are come together

and now we are thanking the Lord.

This is easy, for the Lord is everywhere.

He is in the water and the air,

He is in the very walls.

He is around us and in us.

He is the floor on which we kneel.

We make our songs for him

as sweet as we can for his goodness,

and Lo, he steps into the song

and out of it, having blessed it,

having recognized our intention,

having awakened us, who thought we were awake,

a second time, having married us to the air and the water,

having lifted us in intensity,

having lowered us in beautiful amiability,

having given us each other,

and the weeds, dogs, cities, boats, dreams

that are the world.

 

 

Mindful

 

 

Every day, I see or hear

something that more or less kills me

with delight, that leaves me like a needle

in the haystack of light.

It is what I was born for –

to look, to listen, to lose myself

inside this soft world—

to instruct myself again and again

in joy, and acclamation.

Nor am I talking about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant—

but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.

Oh good scholar, I say to myself,

how can you help but grow wise

with such teachings as these –

the untrimmable light of the world,

the ocean’s shine, the prayers

that are made out of grass?

 

 

Logos

 

 

Why wonder about the loaves and the fishes?

If you say the right words, the wine expands.

If you say them with love

and the felt necessity of that love,

the fish explode into many.

Imagine him, speaking,

and don’t worry about what is reality,

or what is plain, or what is mysterious.

If you were there, it was all those things.

If you can imagine it, it is all those things.

Eat, drink, be happy.

Accept the miracle.

Accept too, each spoken word

spoken with love.

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