October 7, 2015

A morning with Mary Oliver

It's a stressful time at work, with college homecoming next week calling for umpteen meetings and a crazy workload.  I admit the weight of the work has kept me from sleeping well lately and I often find myself wide awake way too early, lying in the dark with my head spinning from my always expanding to-do list.  This morning was no exception, but instead of lying in bed fretting about things I decided to get up and spend some time with one of my favorite poets. 

"Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”

There's nothing like a quiet, dark room and a hot cup of coffee to start the day off on a brighter note.  I found my new coffee mug this weekend and fell in love with it.  It's from England (no surprise, right?) and makes me smile every time I use it.  

"Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.” 

“You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”
It's so easy when life gets hectic to focus on the negative and use words like "overwhelmed" and "stressed."  When I settled into the corner of the couch and picked up my book of Oliver's poems, different words greeted me--affirming words, joyful words.  This is how to start the day.  With joy.

“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.” 

And as night slowly gave way to day, the heaviness I was feeling turned to gratefulness--grateful for another day of life, grateful for my family and friends, and today, extra grateful for wise words that transcend the page and lift the soul.

Hopefully I can carry the wise and wonderful words of this morning with me into my day.  May all of us have days blessed with wonder.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world. 


  1. I love your new coffee mug!

    Any time spent with Mary Oliver is golden. Her wisdom and the beauty of her words make me happy.


    1. Thanks, Claudia! I simply cannot get enough of her beautiful poetry.