Thankful Thursday: Mary Oliver edition

Today I’m grateful for Mary Oliver who created accessible poems that were simultaneously simple and profound. Here’s one of my favorites from American Primitive.

Like large dark
butterflies they sweep over
the glades looking
for death,
to eat it,
to make it vanish,
to make of it the miracle:
resurrection. No one
knows how many
they are who daily
minister so to the grassy
miles, no one
counts how many bodies
they discover
and descend to, demonstrating
each time the earth’s
appetite, the unending
waterfalls of change.
No one,
wants to ponder it,
how it will be
to feel the blood cool,
shapeliness dissolve.
Locked into
the blaze of our own bodies
we watch them
wheeling and drifting, we
honor them and we
loathe them,
however wise the doctrine,
however magnificent the cycles,
however ultimately sweet
the huddle of death to fuel
those powerful wings.


Image from

Rest in beauty, Mary.

Poem: Egrets by Mary Oliver

Poetry intimidates me so I usually avoid it.  But my sister insisted I’d appreciate Mary Oliver’s poems.  And I do.  Especially this one since right now I’m missing all those amazing birds I saw everywhere in Florida.  The very last, um, stanza? (calling[info]kellyrfineman) gets me where I live.

by Mary Oliver

Where the path closed

 down and over,

   through the scumbled leaves,

     fallen branches,

through the knotted catbrier,

  I kept going.  Finally

    I could not

      save my arms

        from thorns; soon

the mosquitoes

  smelled me, hot

    and wounded, and came

      wheeling and whining.

        And that’s how I came

to the edge of the pond:

  black and empty

    except for a spindle

      of bleached reeds

at the far shore

  which, as I looked,

    wrinkled suddenly

      into three egrets – – –

a shower

  of white fire!

    Even half-asleep they had

      such faith in the world

that had made them – – –

  tilting through the water,

    unruffled, sure,

      by the laws

of their faith not logic,

  they opened their wings

    softly and stepped

      over every dark thing.