Saturday, July 18, 2009

Instructing ourselves in joy

"Peasant Woman Sitting in the Grass"
Artist: Nicolae Grigorescu

I love Mary Oliver's verse and have for a long time. Here's one of her poems I found today that is new to me:

Why I Wake Early

Every day
I see or hear
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for—
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these—
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
This poet truly understands the life of mindfulness and contemplation. "Prayers that are made out of grass." Aren't those wonderful words? I think I'll put a little vase of grass on the shrine in my oratory!


  1. Thank you for this. I wasn't familiar with it either, even though I've read a lot of Mary Oliver.

  2. This is beautiful Ellie. Thank you.

    annie c

  3. Hi, Ruth and Annie.

    I'm glad you both liked this. Mary Oliver never fails to move me deeply.


New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.