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.
Mary Oliver, from ‘When death comes’
Mary Oliver (1935-2019) died this week. Her words have brought solace and delight through all the seasons of our lives. And they will continue to do so. So many poems. Something for everyone, for every day, for every occasion. Oliver once said in a radio interview that poetry “wishes for a community. It’s a community ritual” and in our ritual life her words will continue to resound. Her words will continue to connect us to each other and to the natural world. In amazement, and gratitude, we celebrate the life of Mary Oliver.
When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,
like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.
Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.
Let grief be your sister, she will wither or not.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.
A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.
Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.
In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.
Live with the beetle, and the wind.