I did not think much about poetry until my mid 30s when, in a coaching program, I was introduced to the poem, “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver. I listened to the poem as my eyes welled up with tears. How could someone else know, that I too struggled with perfectionism and a list of “shoulds” always in my head?
Her writing made me realize that it was not just me. I realized that there was so much more to experience in life that had nothing to do with the thoughts in my head.
Mary Oliver pointed me in the direction of loving myself and loving the richness, the subtleties, and the nuances of this sensual and wild world.
In the last week I find myself savoring over books of her poetry, and finding poems I’ve never seen, also written by her.
I realize that in her passing, there is an opportunity to keep her spirit alive by sharing the gifts she brought to the world. The gift of touching us all with her capacity to feel each divine moment and remember that if we only have one life to live, why not be free to live, love, and relish in each moment of it.
Thank you Mary Oliver. I will miss you…
“Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper
Oh let me, for a while longer, enter the two
Beautiful bodies of your lungs…
The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you, my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.
Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for your eyes.
It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of a single heart.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life–just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another,
and maybe still another…
We do one thing or another; we stay the same,
or we change.
Congratulations, if you have changed.
Let me ask you this.
Do you also think that beauty exists for some
And, if you have not been enchanted by this adventure–
what would do for you?
What I loved in the beginning,
I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements,
though with difficulty.
I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out; I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow
(everything is nourishments somehow or another).
And I have become the child of the clouds,
and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy,
whoever that is.
I have become older and,
cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.
And what do I risk to tell you this,
which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world. ”
― Mary Oliver