by Mary Oliver
Once, in summer,
In the blueberries,
I fell asleep, and woke
When a deer stumbled against me.
She was so busy with her own happiness
She had grown careless
And was just wandering along
To the wind as she leaned down
To lip up the sweetness.
So, there we were
With nothing between us
But a few leaves, and the wind’s
Backed away finally
And flung up her white tail
And went floating off toward the trees –
But the moment before she did that
Was so wide and so deep
It has lasted to this day;
I have only to think of her –
The flower of her amazement
And the stalled breath of her curiosity,
And even the damp touch of her solicitude
Before she took flight-
To be absent again from this world
And alive, again, in another,
For thirty years
sleepy and amazed,
Rising out of the rough weeds
Listening and looking.
Where are you?
by Mary Oliver
I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is a dark
pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too
hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,
and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,
so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being
locked up in gold.
by Mary Oliver
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over
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?
by Mary Oliver
Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.
Lines written in the days of growing darkness
by Mary Oliver
Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
who would cry out
to the petals on the ground
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married
to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do
if the love one claims to have for the world
So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,
though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.
~ from her collection, A Thousand Mornings
Today again I am hardly myself.
It happens over and over.
It is heaven-sent.
It flows through me
like the blue wave.
Green leaves – you may believe this or not –
have once or twice
emerged from the tips of my fingers
deep in the woods,
in the reckless seizure of spring.
Though, of course, I also know that other song,
the sweet passion of one-ness.
Just yesterday I watched an ant crossing a path, through the
tumbled pine needles she toiled.
And I thought: she will never live another life but this one.
And I thought: if she lives her life with all her strength
is she not wonderful and wise?
And I continued this up the miraculous pyramid of everything
until I came to myself.
And still, even in these northern woods, on these hills of sand,
I have flown from the other window of myself
to become white heron, blue whale,
red fox, hedgehog.
Oh, sometimes already my body has felt like the body of a flower!
Sometimes already my heart is a red parrot, perched
among strange, dark trees, flapping and screaming.
By Orion Jensen
I woke up as my alarm buzzed in my ear and my mom said, “Orion, get up and shut that alarm off.”
“Give me a second,” I yelled so she could hear me. I rolled out of bed half dressed and I felt the cold nip on my body as I walked out the door. My mom was in the kitchen and from the smell of cinnamon I could tell that she was cooking French toast, which was normal for my house.
“Mom,” I said, “I’m going to take a shower OK?” That ended with what most teenagers do to get ready for school: shower, deodorant, get dressed, that sort of stuff.
As I walked into the living room I slipped on my sandals and walked my dog down the street. I heard nothing but a few crickets and an owl. As I walked up the long driveway back to my house I realized how gloomy it was. It was dark and silent. Well, as silent as it gets at 6:30.
I walked into the house and felt a wave of heat that washed over me. As I walked down the small stairs from the living room to the kitchen table with the French toast, I sat down and started getting ready to eat.
My mom called out from her room, “Orion eat your food and get ready to go. We leave in 20 minutes.”
“OK,” I said.
Just before I started on my French toast the phone rang. I thought nothing of it and could hear as my mom said in a cheery voice, “Oh, hi Allison.”
Then I heard her sob and I ran into her room with my dog close at my heels.
“What’s wrong?” I said is I hugged my mom trying to comfort her .
Through her sobs I heard, “Cameron…died.”
I felt the tears brim over my eyes and as they rolled down my cheeks I hugged my mom. Sadness spilled out of my body and with my dog next me I sat there and cried.
This day, I don’t remember anything after that I can tell you. I can’t tell you if I cried my eyes out or sat there numb and so that’s all I remember.
I woke up the next day and went to school with a hallow heart.