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Mary Oliver is a superb poet of the natural world.
She has opened up the possibilities of nature-consciousness to many thousands.
Mary Oliver's poems use remarkably simple language to share her love for other lives
and make them come alive for the reader.
Mary Oliver helps us learn to be at home with Earth.
Mary Oliver helps us honor ourselves as parts of Earth.

Mary Oliver is the writer-in-residence at Sweet Briar College, in Virginia.
She received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1984 for her book American Primitive.
[Poems] rinse things...
[They] rinse the words...
but also perhaps rinse - and hang out again
on the line -
values of freedom,
of spirit, and play.
~ Seamus Heaney
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AT GREAT POND
by Mary Oliver


At Great Pond
the sun, rising,
scrapes his orange breast
on the thick pines,
and down tumble
a few orange feathers into
the dark water.
On the far shore
a white bird is standing
like a white candle ---
or a man, in the distance,
in the clasp of some meditation ---
while all around me the lilies
are breaking open again
from the black cave
of the night.
Later, I will consider
what I have seen ---
what it could signify ---
what words of adoration I might
make of it, and to do this
I will go indoors to my desk ---
I will sit in my chair ---
I will look back
into the lost morning
in which I am moving, now,
like a swimmer,
so smoothly,
so peacefully,
I am almost the lily ---
almost the bird vanishing over the water
on its sleeves of night.
AT BLACKWATER POND
by Mary Oliver

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?
SPRING
by Mary Oliver
from New and Selected Poems. Beacon Press.


Somewhere
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,


it is also this dazzling darkness
coming
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her--
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.
More Poems
LAUNDRY DAY
LINKS
SHOE BOX
SITE MAP
SCRAPBOOK
POETRY
VIEWS
DIURNAL
QUOTES
Spring/At Great Pond
Earth, Your Dancing Place
Angels
In Blackwater Woods
In the Library
Clear as Mud
Mockingbirds
Pinup
Sabbaths 2001
Center
Morning Poem
Aunt Leaf
The Peace of Wild Things
An Observation
The Calf-Path
Sometimes, I Am Startled...
The Visitation
Wings
Praise Song
Putting in a Window
Monet Refuses the Operation
A Blessing
Making a Living
The Poetry Bus
Homemaking
Old Woman in a Housecoat
Soundings
My Father's Lunch
Lightening the Load
Wild Card
Thoughts in a Garden
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WELCOME!
Appeal to the Grammarians
Bread Soup
Explaining Relativity to a Cat
In Praise of Craziness
Martha
Pastoral
Thus Spake the Mockingbird
Trust
Undelivered Mail
Winter Is the Best Time
Surprises
Reading History
Radiator
Song of the Open Road
I Chop Some Parsley
Cowboy Poetry
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walking
To the Man in a Loden Coat
Fermanagh Cave
Highway Five Love Poem
School Day Afternoon
Late for Summer Weather
Quilts
So Much Happiness
Employed
Te Deum
The Testing-Tree
Vacuuming Spiders
Six Significant Landscapes
Reconsidering the Seven
They'll
Miscellaneous Poetry