Mary Oliver

“I mean, by such flightiness, something that feels unsatisfied at the center of my life — that makes me shaky, fickle, inquisitive, and hungry. I could call it a longing for home and not be far wrong. Or I could call it a longing for whatever supersedes, if it cannot pass through, understanding. Other words that come to mind: faith, grace, rest. In my outward appearance and life habits I hardly change — there’s never been a day that my friends haven’t been able to say, and at a distance, “There’s Oliver, still standing around in the weeds. There she is, still scribbling in her notebook.” But, at the center: I am shaking; I am flashing like tinsel. Restless. I read about ideas. Yet I let them remain ideas. I read about the poet who threw his books away, the better to come to a spiritual completion. Yet I keep my books. I flutter; I am attentive, maybe I even rise a little, balancing; then I fall back.”


Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings
tags: doubt, home, longing
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Long Life: Essays and Other Writings Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver
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