Mary Oliver*

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver and her dog

Wild Geese

Mary Oliver1935 – 2019

Wild Geese

 

Oliver, who cited Walt Whitman as an influence, is best known for her awe-filled, often hopeful, reflections on and observations of nature. “Mary Oliver’s poetry is an excellent antidote for the excesses of civilization,” wrote one reviewer for the Harvard Review, “for too much flurry and inattention, and the baroque conventions of our social and professional lives. She is a poet of wisdom and generosity whose vision allows us to look intimately at a world not of our making.”

Her honors include an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, a Lannan Literary Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. She lived for over forty years in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with her partner Molly Malone Cook, a photographer and gallery owner. After Cook’s death in 2005, Oliver later moved to the southeastern coast of Florida. Oliver died of cancer at the age of eighty-three in Hobe Sound, Florida, on January 17, 2019.

*This contents of this post come from Poets.org

Mary Oliver reminds me to look to nature whenever I feel humans are letting the world down. Rejoice in the strength of the trees and the persistent bloom of flowers.

-CCW

 

 

 

Adaptation

I used to be a nightshade,

slow to rise and rouse myself at daybreak,

active and alert by the light of the moon,

happy to be a nocturnal brute

 

but mothering lent solitude only at dawn,

and I craved the quiet and calm,

So I rose with the sun and sometimes aforetime,

and now I wilt early – often before nine!

 

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Spats

Their fighting is your inner battle – your own malcontent

when the volume rises and their words get sharp

when your heart seeks shelter and your fingers flutter

let it roll over you

 

they’ll work it out with fists of hurt

and lash each other with words of stone

until they’re bruised and bloodied

 

let it roll over you

 

let it go

it’s theirs

not yours