Remembering Mary Oliver

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
The Summer Day

She asked us, asked us –
in a world
where so many demand things of us,
proclaim a right or righteous way,
or only talk about themselves …

(though she had her instructions too
pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.)

She asked about our plan,
admitted it was human to be lonely
which made us all
feel a good deal better,

and we just let being wild and precious
soak in and put a smile in us.

Now I was very fond of her dog poems,
but I am thinking today
of another one,
the one with this line —

“Listen — are you breathing just a little,
and calling it a life?”
and I think back at her –

now, you are not breathing –
but you did not merely visit the world –
you taught us
how to start our days
in happiness and kindness,

and we will always be calling you a life.

(Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?)

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5 Responses to Remembering Mary Oliver

  1. I can’t imagine leading a retreat without a Mary Oliver poem. She always seems to have the right words and the touching, gentle wisdom that is needed. What a blessing to all of us. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.

  2. Joyce Ray says:

    This is so beautiful. It’s difficult to imagine a world without Mary Oliver in it. Yes, perfect ending – we will call her a life, always.

  3. A beautitful light she was may she rest well

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