Mary Oliver is arguably one of the greatest contemporary American poets. Her work, which spans more than four decades, is filled with a quiet wonder about nature and our place in it. This poem below is both joyful and pensive, quiet and exuberant at the same time. A bit like when in Aikido we flow with our partner, so I thought I'd share it with you. Enjoy!
Messenger (by Mary Oliver)
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
More about Oliver can be found at the Poetry Foundation. Some more of her poems are
- and here
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