Author Archives: virtualartistaltar

a wild night

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Drea Art

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facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

The Journey
By Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

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the morning early

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Drea Art
dreajensengallery.artistwebsites.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Some Things The World Gave
by Mary Oliver

1
Times in the morning early
when it rained and the long gray
buildings came forward from darkness
offering their windows for light.

2
Evenings out there on the plains
when sunset donated farms
that yearned so far to the west that the world
centered there and bowed down.

3
A teacher at a country school
walking home past a great marsh
where ducks came gliding in —
she saw the boy out hunting and waved.

4
Silence on a hill where the path ended
and then the forest below
moving in one long whisper
as evening touched the leaves.

5
Shelter in winter that day —
a storm coming, but in the lee
of an island in a cover with friends —
oh, little bright cup of sun.

this is everything

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Drea Art
dreajensengallery.artistwebsites.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

EVERYTHING
by Mary Oliver

No doubt in Holland,
when van Gogh was a boy,
there were swans drifting
over the green sea
of the meadows, and no doubt
on some warm afternoon
he lay down and watched them,
and almost thought: this is everything.
What drove him
to get up and look further
is what saves this world,
even as it breaks
the hearts of men.
In the mines where he preached,
where he studied tenderness,
there were only men, all of them
streaked with dust.
For years he would reach
toward the darkness.
But no doubt, like all of us,
he finally remembered
everything, including the white birds
weightless and unaccountable,
floating around the towns
of grit and hopelessness––
and this is what would finish him:
not the gloom, which was only terrible,
but those last yellow fields, where clearly
nothing in the world mattered, or ever would,
but the insensible light.

learning to be astonished

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Drea Art
dreajensengallery.artistwebsites.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Messenger
by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

eye of a hummingbird

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Drea Art
dreajensengallery.artistwebsites.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

SOME QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK
By Mary Oliver

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?

what I was born for

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Drea Art
dreajensengallery.artistwebsites.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

Mindful
by Mary Oliver

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
over and over

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?

flowers are sweet

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Drea Art
dreajensengallery.artistwebsites.com
facebook.com/dreajensenart
virtualartistaltar.com

I KNOW SOMEONE
By Mary Oliver

I know someone who kisses the way

a flower opens, but more rapidly.

Flowers are sweet. They have

short, beatific lives. They offer

much pleasure. There is

nothing in the world that can be said

against them.

Sad, isn’t it, that all they can kiss

is the air.

Yes, yes! We are the lucky ones.