7 Rare Mary Oliver Poems that will inspire you every day

Mary Oliver Poems
Mary Oliver Poems

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Mary Oliver, the American poet, is no more with us. But as it is always with poets, they leave their trail behind. Mary Oliver too, left a lush, evergreen, rich, and earthly trail of poems about nature. When you read Mary Oliver poems, you would be transported to her world. A world where Mary would walk every day, dwell for hours amid the woods, sleep in the warm womb of the forest and from there, bring her poems to life.

As we remember this wonderful poet today, we invite you to take a small walk with her through these poems. Every poem she has ever written reflects upon her rich observation of the world around her, her vivid imagination and her innate ability to write simple poetry that touches the heart.

A Pulitzer Prize winner, Mary Oliver wrote several poems and published many books. Some of the most noted poems by Ms Oliver include Morning Poem, Wild Geese, Forty among others. In our next posts, we’ll continue to bring to you more beautiful poems penned by Mary Oliver. If you like this post, do not forget to share it with your friends and family.

Read more English poems here

The Journey | Mary Oliver Poems

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
recognised 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.

Sleeping in the Forest | Mary Oliver Poems

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 as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom.
By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

Wild Geese | Mary Oliver Poems

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.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

The Spirit Likes To Dress Up

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 morning
in the blue branches
of the world.

It could float, of course,
but would rather
plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,
lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body’s world,
and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
and tangibility,
to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is —
so it enters us —
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;
and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.

Song of the builders

On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God –
a worthy pastime.

Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside
this way and that way.

How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope
it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.

The Swan | Poems by Mary Oliver

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

Morning Poem | Mary Oliver Poems

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 themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies.

If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.

And if your spirit
carries within it
the thorn
that is heavier than lead
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted
each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

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