A Poem for a Thursday #16


I have enjoyed all the poems I have used for this Thursday poem series but my favorite discovery is Mary Oliver. I don't remember ever reading her poems before and I missed a lot by not doing so. I used one of her poems a few months ago but when I heard that she died I knew I would feature her again. Actually, I am giving you two of her poems because I couldn't choose. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Ordinarily, I go to the woods
alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers
and talkers, and therefore
unsuitable.

I don't really want to be
witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the black oak tree.
I have my way of 
praying, as you no doubt have
yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can
become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless
as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by
unconcerned. I can hear the 
almost 
unhearable sound of the roses
singing.

If you have ever gone to the
woods with me, I must love
you very much.

How I Go to the Woods
Mary Oliver



I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

I Worried
Mary Oliver




6 comments

  1. What a loss she is. Two beautiful choices, thank you.

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    1. Such a loss. At least I have a lot more of her poetry to read.

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  2. Oh my goodness; these are wonderful. My sister got me into Mary Oliver a few years ago, but I don't think I've ever read either of these.

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    1. I love both of them. Do you have a favorite of her poems?

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  3. I agree - lovely, although they're not really my idea of poetry - that's me being very old-fashioned I suppose.

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    1. Maybe that is why I like them-they aren't regular rhyming poetry. They are beautiful words put together in a beautiful way.

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