Mary Oliver

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
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.

Mary Oliver (born 10 September 1935) is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

File:Chromology The Door.jpg
To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

Quotes[edit]

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

American Primitive (1983)[edit]

  • To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
    • "In Blackwater Woods"

Dream Work (1986)[edit]

  • You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
    • "Wild Geese"
  • And now I understand something so frightening, and wonderful — how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing through crossroads, sticking like lint to the familiar.
    • "Robert Schumann"

House of Light (1990)[edit]

  • 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.
    • "The Ponds"

New and Selected Poems (1992)[edit]

File:Chromology The Net.jpg
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
  • Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
    • "The Summer Day"

Blue Pastures (1995)[edit]

West Wind (1997)[edit]

File:Chromology The Rings.jpg
Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
Am I not among the early risers
and the long-distance walkers?
  • Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
    • Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?
  • Am I not among the early risers
    and the long-distance walkers?

    Have I not stood, amazed, as I consider
    the perfection of the morning star
    above the peaks of the houses, and the crowns of the trees
    blue in the first light?
    Do I not see how the trees tremble, as though
    sheets of water flowed over them
    though it is only wind, that common thing,
    free to everyone, and everything?

    • "Am I Not Among the Early Risers"
  • What countries, what visitations,
    what pomp
    would satisfy me as thoroughly as Blackwater Woods
    on a sun-filled morning, or, equally, in the rain?
    • "Am I Not Among the Early Risers"
  • Here is an amazement –– once I was twenty years old and in
    every motion of my body there was a delicious ease,
    and in every motion of the green earth there was
    a hint of paradise,
    and now I am sixty years old, and it is the same.
    • "Am I Not Among the Early Risers"

Winter Hours (1999)[edit]

File:Chromology The Heart.jpg
You can have the other wordschance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I'll take grace. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'll take it.
Winter Hours : Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems
  • What men build, in the name of security, is built of straw.
    • "Sand Dabs, Five"
  • I am a performing artist; I perform admiration.
    Come with me, I want my poems to say. And do the same.
    • "Sand Dabs, Five"
  • Every word is a messenger. Some have wings; some are filled with fire; some are filled with death.
    • "Sand Dabs, Six"

Blue Iris (2004)[edit]

Light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it’s done right, is a kind of holiness.
  • But also I say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it’s done right, is a kind of holiness.
    • "Poppies"

Why I Wake Early (2004)[edit]

  • 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.
    • "Mindful"

New and Selected Poems, Volume 2 (2005)[edit]

File:Chromology The Boat.jpg
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
  • I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
    • "When Death Comes"
  • You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn't need any more of that sound.
    • "The Poet With His Face in His Hands"

Thirst (2006)[edit]

  • My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness
    • "Messenger"

Red Bird (2008)[edit]

File:Chromology The Mirror.jpg
I don't know what God is.
I don't know what death is.

But I believe they have between them
some fervent and necessary arrangement.

Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
I was surrounded by the beautiful crying forth of the ideas of God, one of which was you.
  • I don't know what God is.
    I don't know what death is.

    But I believe they have between them
    some fervent and necessary arrangement.

    • "Sometimes", § 1
  • Instructions for living a life:
    Pay attention.
    Be astonished.
    Tell about it.
    • "Sometimes", § 4
  • Two or three times in my life I discovered love.
    Each time it seemed to solve everything.

    Each time it solved a great many things
    but not everything.
    Yet left me as grateful as if it had indeed, and
    thoroughly, solved everything.
    • "Sometimes", § 5
  • Death waits for me, I know it, around
    one corner or another.
    This doesn't amuse me.
    Neither does it frighten me.

    After the rain, I went back into the field of sunflowers.
    It was cool, and I was anything but drowsy.
    I walked slowly, and listened

    to the crazy roots, in the drenched earth, laughing and growing.

    • "Sometimes", § 7
  • So every day
    I was surrounded by the beautiful crying forth
    of the ideas of God,

    one of which was you.

    • "So every day"
  • then you too are a dream

    which last night and the night before that
    and the years before that
    you were not.

    • "If the philosopher is right"

Evidence (2009)[edit]

Among the swans there is none called the least,
 or the greatest.
  • Among the swans there is none called the least,
     or the greatest.
    • "Evidence"
  • I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.
    • "Evidence"
  • Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
    • "Evidence"

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: