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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


(Mary Oliver, American poet)

Our second “nominee” for the post of U.S. poet laureate is Mary Oliver, an American poet born in 1935.

She is a descendant of the Romantics, a soul mate of poets like Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, and John Clare. She looks to Nature as the source of happiness. She makes use of the pathetic fallacy, attaching human qualities and emotions to flora and fauna and inanimate objects found on land and in sea and sky.

Oliver’s verses are delicious elixirs on those days when, to quote Wordsworth, “the world is too much with us.”


Hello, sun in my face.
hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety —

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light —
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.


Isn’t it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about

spiritual patience? Isn’t it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?

Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.

Every morning, so far, I’m alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky — as though

all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined
their strong, thick wings.

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