A Visitor – Mary Oliver

My father, for example, who was young once and blue-eyed, returns on the darkest of nights to the porch and knocks wildly at the door,…

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After Arguing Against The Contention That Art Must Come From Discontent – Mary Oliver

Whispering to each handhold, “I’ll be back,” I go up the cliff in the dark. One place I loosen a rock and listen a long…

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An Afternoon In The Stacks – Mary Oliver

Closing the book, I find I have left my head inside. It is dark in here, but the chapters open their beautiful spaces and give…

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At Blackwater Pond – Mary Oliver

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled after a night of rain. I dip my cupped hands. I drink a long time. It tastes…

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Mary Oliver

At Great Pond the sun, rising, scrapes his orange breast on the thick pines, and down tumble a few orange feathers into the dark water….

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August – Mary Oliver

When the blackberries hang swollen in the woods, in the brambles nobody owns, I spend all day among the high branches, reaching my ripped arms,…

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Aunt Leaf – Mary Oliver

Needing one, I invented her – the great-great-aunt dark as hickory called Shining-Leaf, or Drifting-Cloud or The-Beauty-of-the-Night. Dear aunt, I’d call into the leaves, and…

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Beyond the Snow Belt – Mary Oliver

Over the local stations, one by one, Announcers list disasters like dark poems That always happen in the skull of winter. But once again the…

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Black Oaks – Mary Oliver

Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary, or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance and comfort. Not one…

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Blossom – Mary Oliver

In April the ponds open like black blossoms, the moon swims in every one; there’s fire everywhere: frogs shouting their desire, their satisfaction. What we…

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Catbird – Mary Oliver

He picks his pond, and the soft thicket of his world. He bids his lady come, and she does, flirting with her tail. He begins…

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Clapp’s Pond – Mary Oliver

Three miles through the woods Clapp’s Pond sprawls stone gray among oaks and pines, the late winter fields where a pheasant blazes up lifting his…

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Climbing The Chagrin River – Mary Oliver

We enter the green river, heron harbor, mud-basin lined with snagheaps, where turtles sun themselves–we push through the falling silky weight striped warm and cold…

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Cold Poem – Mary Oliver

Cold now. Close to the edge. Almost unbearable. Clouds bunch up and boil down from the north of the white bear. This tree-splitting morning I…

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Daisies – Mary Oliver

It is possible, I suppose that sometime we will learn everything there is to learn: what the world is, for example, and what it means….

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Dogfish – Mary Oliver

Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing kept flickering in with the tide and looking around. Black as a fisherman’s boot, with a white belly….

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Egrets – Mary Oliver

Where the path closed down and over, through the scumbled leaves, fallen branches, through the knotted catbrier, I kept going. Finally I could not save…

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Fall Song – Mary Oliver

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…

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Flare – Mary Oliver

1. Welcome to the silly, comforting poem. It is not the sunrise, which is a red rinse, which is flaring all over the eastern sky;…

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Gannets – Mary Oliver

I am watching the white gannets blaze down into the water with the power of blunt spears and a stunning accuracy– even though the sea…

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Happiness – Mary Oliver

In the afternoon I watched the she-bear; she was looking for the secret bin of sweetness – honey, that the bees store in the trees’…

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Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches – Mary Oliver

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives – tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey, hanging…

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Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond – Mary Oliver

So heavy is the long-necked, long-bodied heron, always it is a surprise when her smoke-colored wings open and she turns from the thick water, from…

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Honey At The Table – Mary Oliver

It fills you with the soft essence of vanished flowers, it becomes a trickle sharp as a hair that you follow from the honey pot…

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Hummingbird Pauses at the Trumpet Vine – Mary Oliver

Who doesn’t love roses, and who doesn’t love the lilies of the black ponds floating like flocks of tiny swans, and of course, the flaming…

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Knife – Mary Oliver

Something just now moved through my heart like the thinnest of blades as that red-tail pumped once with its great wings and flew above the…

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Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me – Mary Oliver

Last night the rain spoke to me slowly, saying, what joy to come falling out of the brisk cloud, to be happy again in a…

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Lightning – Mary Oliver

The oaks shone gaunt gold on the lip of the storm before the wind rose, the shapeless mouth opened and began its five-hour howl; the…

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Lilies – Mary Oliver

I have been thinking about living like the lilies that blow in the fields. They rise and fall in the edge of the wind, and…

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Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard – Mary Oliver

His beak could open a bottle, and his eyes – when he lifts their soft lids – go on reading something just beyond your shoulder…

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Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject Of Faith – Mary Oliver

Every summer I listen and look under the sun’s brass and even into the moonlight, but I can’t hear anything, I can’t see anything —…

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Marengo – Mary Oliver

Out of the sump rise the marigolds. From the rim of the marsh, muslin with mosquitoes, rises the egret, in his cloud-cloth. Through the soft…

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Mindful – 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…

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Moccasin Flowers – Mary Oliver

All my life, so far, I have loved more than one thing, including the mossy hooves of dreams, including’ the spongy litter under the tall…

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Mockingbirds – Mary Oliver

This morning two mockingbirds in the green field were spinning and tossing the white ribbons of their songs into the air. I had nothing better…

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Moles – Mary Oliver

Under the leaves, under the first loose levels of earth they’re there — quick as beetles, blind as bats, shy as hares but seen less…

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Morning Glories – Mary Oliver

Blue and dark-blue rose and deepest rose white and pink they are everywhere in the diligent cornfield rising and swaying in their reliable finery in…

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Morning Poem – Mary Oliver

Every morning the world is created. Under the orange sticks of the sun the heaped ashes of the night turn into leaves again and fasten…

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Mushrooms – Mary Oliver

Rain, and then the cool pursed lips of the wind draw them out of the ground – red and yellow skulls pummeling upward through leaves,…

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Next Time – Mary Oliver

Next time what I’d do is look at the earth before saying anything. I’d stop just before going into a house and be an emperor…

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Music – Mary Oliver

I tied together a few slender reeds, cut notches to breathe across and made such music you stood shock still and then followed as I…

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On Winter’s Margin – Mary Oliver

On winter’s margin, see the small birds now With half-forged memories come flocking home To gardens famous for their charity. The green globe’s broken; vines…

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One – Mary Oliver

The mosquito is so small it takes almost nothing to ruin it. Each leaf, the same. And the black ant, hurrying. So many lives, so…

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Peonies – Mary Oliver

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…

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Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York,1957 – Mary Oliver

Once, in summer in the blueberries, I fell asleep, and woke when a deer stumbled against me. I guess she was so busy with her…

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Poem (The spirit likes to dress up…) – Mary Oliver

The spirit likes to dress up like this: ten fingers, ten toes, shoulders, and all the rest at night in the black branches, in the…

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Sand Dabs, Five – Mary Oliver

What men build, in the name of security, is built of straw. * Does the grain of sand know it is a grain of sand?…

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Skunk Cabbage – Mary Oliver

And now as the iron rinds over the ponds start dissolving, you come, dreaming of ferns and flowers and new leaves unfolding, upon the brash…

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Sleeping In The Forest – Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me, she took me back so tenderly, arranging her dark skirts, her pockets full of lichens and seeds. I slept…

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Snow Geese – Mary Oliver

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last! What a task to ask of anything, or anyone, yet it is ours, and not…

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Snowy Night – Mary Oliver

Last night, an owl in the blue dark tossed an indeterminate number of carefully shaped sounds into the world, in which, a quarter of a…

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Some Things The World Gave – 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…

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Song of the Builders – Mary Oliver

On a summer morning I sat down on a hillside to think about God – a worthy pastime. Near me, I saw a single cricket;…

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Stanley Kunitz – Mary Oliver

I used to imagine him coming from his house, like Merlin strolling with important gestures through the garden where everything grows so thickly, where birds…

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Starlings in Winter – Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy, but with stars in their black feathers, they spring from the telephone wire and instantly they are acrobats in the freezing wind….

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Such Singing in the Wild Branches – Mary Oliver

It was spring and finally I heard him among the first leaves – then I saw him clutching the limb in an island of shade…

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Sunrise – Mary Oliver

You can die for it- an idea, or the world. People have done so, brilliantly, letting their small bodies be bound to the stake, creating…

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That Sweet Flute John Clare – Mary Oliver

That sweet flute John Clare; that broken branch Eddy Whitman; Christopher Smart, in the press of blazing electricity; My uncle the suicide; Woolf, on her…

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The Buddha’s Last Instruction – Mary Oliver

“Make of yourself a light” said the Buddha, before he died. I think of this every morning as the east begins to tear off its…

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The Chance To Love Everything – Mary Oliver

All summer I made friends with the creatures nearby — they flowed through the fields and under the tent walls, or padded through the door,…

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