Mary Oliver (1935-2019)

I’m the furthest thing from a poetry expert, but Mary Oliver somehow seemed to capture nature, life, and the best of America in a way that no one else did. I reread Wild Geese on a regular basis and any number of her poems from New and Selected Poems has the potential to leave the reader in quiet awe. Oliver had an uncanny ability to mix shades of light and dark, vulnerability, beauty, and both the innate kindness and indifference of the natural world into crisp images that stay with you and make you want to be, for lack of a better way to put it, better. She was one of a kind.

This Morning Again It Was in the Dusty Pine
Five A.M. in the Pinewoods


This is death,
it rises up…
god’s bark-colored thumb…
and opens the sheath of its wings
and turns its hungry, hooked head
upon me, and away,
and softly,
lamp-eyed,
becomes the perfect, billowing instrument
as it glides
through the wind
like a knife..

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