A Thousand Mornings Quotes

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A Thousand Mornings A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
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A Thousand Mornings Quotes Showing 1-30 of 44
I Go Down To The Shore

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“And now you'll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won't be false, and they won't be true
but they'll be real”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
A Thousand Mornings

All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night
meets and then is overwhelmed by
morning, the light deepening, the
wind easing and just waiting, as I
too wait (and when have I ever been
disappointed?) for redbird to sing”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“For some things there are no wrong seasons. Which is what I dream of for me.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth, it can lie down like silk breathing or toss havoc shoreward; it can give gifts or withhold all; it can rise, ebb, froth like an incoming frenzy of fountains, or it can sweet-talk entirely. As I can too, and so, no doubt, can you, and you.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“The man who has many answers
is often found
in the theaters of information
where he offers, graciously,
his deep findings.

While the man who has only questions,
to comfort himself, makes music.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
Three Things to Remember
As long as you’re dancing, you can
break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just
extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“I know I can walk through the world, along the shore or under the trees, with my mind filled with things of little importance, in full self-attendance. A condition I can't really call being alive.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
In Our Woods, Sometimes a Rare Music
Every spring
I hear the thrush singing
in the glowing woods
he is only passing through.
His voice is deep,
then he lifts it until it seems
to fall from the sky.
I am thrilled.
I am grateful.

Then, by the end of morning,
he's gone, nothing but silence
out of the tree
where he rested for a night.
And this I find acceptable.
Not enough is a poor life.
But too much is, well, too much.
Imagine Verdi or Mahler
every day, all day.
It would exhaust anyone.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“from Hum, Hum

Oh the house of denial has thick walls
and very small windows
and whoever lives there, little by little,
will turn to stone.

In those years I did everything I could do
and I did it in the dark—
I mean, without understanding.

I ran away.
I ran away again

(from poem: Hum, Hum)”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
Foolishness? No, It’s Not.

Sometimes I spend all day trying to count the leaves on a single tree. To do this I have to climb branch by branch and write down the numbers in a little book. So I suppose, from their point of view, it’s reasonable that my friends say: what foolishness! She’s got her head in the clouds again.

But it’s not. Of course I have to give up, but by then I’m half crazy with the wonder of it — the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious and important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“from the poem Hum, Hum

The resurrection of the morning.
The mystery of the night.
The hummingbird's wings.
The excitement of thunder.
The rainbow in the waterfall.
Wild mustard, that rough blaze of the fields.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“Today I'm flying low and I'm not saying a word. I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep. The world goes on as it must, the bees in the garden rumbling a little, the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten. And so forth. But I'm taking the day off. Quiet as a feather. I hardly move though really I'm traveling a terrific distance. Stillness. One of the doors into the temple.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
Poem of the One World
This morning

the beautiful white heron

was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this

the one world

we all belong to

where everything

sooner or later

is a part of everything else

which thought made me feel

for a little while

quite beautiful myself.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
The Morning Paper
Read one newspaper daily (the morning edition
is the best
for by evening you now that you at least
have lived through another day)
and let the disasters, the unbelievable
yet approved decisions
soak in.

I don't need to name the countries,
ours among them.

What keeps us from falling down, our faces
to the ground; ashamed, ashamed?”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
I Have Decided
I have decided to find myself a home in the mountains, somewhere high up where one learns to live peacefully in the cold and the silence. It’s said that in such a place certain revelations may be discovered. That what the spirit reaches for may be eventually felt, if not exactly understood. Slowly, no doubt. I’m not talking about a vacation. Of course at the same time I mean to stay exactly where I am. Are you following me?”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“When a man says he hears angels singing,
he hears angels singing.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“that your spirit grow in curiosity, that your life be richer than it is, that you bow to the earth as you feel how it actually is, that we—so clever, and ambitious, and selfish, and unrestrained— are only one design of the moving, the vivacious many.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“Sometimes I spend all day trying to count the leaves on a single tree. To do this I have to climb branch by branch and write down the numbers in a little book. So I suppose, from their point of view, it’s reasonable that my friends say: what foolishness! She’s got her head in the clouds again. But it’s not. Of course I have to give up, but by then I’m half crazy with the wonder of it—the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious and important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“As long as you're dancing, you can
break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just
extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
Tides
Every day the sea
blue gray green lavender
pulls away leaving the harbor’s
dark-cobbled undercoat

slick and rutted and worm-riddled, the gulls
walk there among old whalebones, the white
spines of fish blink from the strandy stew
as the hours tick over; and then

far out the faint, sheer
line turns, rustling over the slack,
the outer bars, over the green-furred flats, over
the clam beds, slippery logs,

barnacle-studded stones, dragging
the shining sheets forward, deepening,
pushing, wreathing together
wave and seaweed, their piled curvatures

spilling over themselves, lapping
blue gray green lavender, never
resting, not ever but fashioning shore,
continent, everything.

And here you may find me
on almost any morning
walking along the shore so
light-footed so casual.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“There are lots of ways to dance and to spin, sometimes it just starts my feet first then my entire body, I am spinning no one can see it but it is happening. I am so glad to be alive, I am so glad to be loving and loved. Even if I were close to the finish, even if I were at my final breath, I would be here to take a stand, bereft of such astonishments, but for them. If I were a Sufi for sure I would be one of the spinning kind.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“Sleep comes its little while. Then I wake in the valley of midnight or three a.m. to the first fragrances of spring which is coming, all by itself, no matter what. My heart says, what you thought you have you do not have. My body says, will this pounding ever stop? My heart says: there, there, be a good student. My body says: let me up and out, I want to fondle those soft white flowers, open in the night.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
The Mockingbird
All summer
the mockingbird
in his pearl-gray coat
and his white-windowed wings

flies
from the hedge to the top of the pine
and begins to sing, but it’s neither
lilting nor lovely,

for he is the thief of other sounds—
whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges
plus all the songs
of other birds in his neighborhood;

mimicking and elaborating,
he sings with humor and bravado,
so I have to wait a long time
for the softer voice of his own life

to come through. He begins
by giving up all his usual flutter
and settling down on the pine’s forelock
then looking around

as though to make sure he’s alone;
then he slaps each wing against his breast,
where his heart is,
and, copying nothing, begins

easing into it
as though it was not half so easy
as rollicking,
as though his subject now

was his true self,
which of course was as dark and secret
as anyone else’s,
and it was too hard—

perhaps you understand—
to speak or to sing it
to anything or anyone
but the sky.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“From the poem: The First Time Percy Came Back

Yes, it’s all different,” he said.

“You’re going to be very surprised.”

But I wasn’t thinking of that. I only

wanted to hold him. “Listen,” he said,

“I miss that too.

And now you’ll be telling stories

of my coming back

and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true,

but they’ll be real.”

And then, as he used to, he said, “Let’s go!”

And we walked down the beach together.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
Extending the Airport Runway
The good citizens of the commission
cast their votes
for more of everything.
Very early in the morning

I go out
to the pale dunes, to look over
the empty spaces
of the wilderness.

For something is there,
something is there when nothing is there but itself,
that is not there when anything else is.

Alas,
the good citizens of the commission
have never seen it,

whatever it is,
formless, yet palpable.
Very shining, very delicate.

Very rare.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“knowing as we must, how the vivacity of what was is married to the vitality of what will be? I don’t say it’s easy, but what else will do”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
“Sleep comes its little while. Then I wake in the valley of midnight or three a.m. to the first fragrances of spring which is coming, all by itself, no matter what.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
tags: spring
Today

Today I’m flying low and I’m not saying a word. I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep. The world goes on as it must, the bees in the garden rumbling a little, the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten. And so forth. But I’m taking the day off. Quiet as a feather. I hardly move though really I’m traveling a terrific distance. Stillness. One of the doors into the temple.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
The Instant

Today
one small snake lay, looped and
solitary
in the high grass, it

swirled to look, didn’t
like what it saw
and was gone
in two pulses

forward and with no sound at all, only
two taps, in disarray, from
that other shy one,
my heart.”
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

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