New and Selected Poems, Volume One Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
New and Selected Poems, Volume One New and Selected Poems, Volume One by Mary Oliver
11,312 ratings, 4.54 average rating, 563 reviews
Open Preview
New and Selected Poems, Volume One Quotes Showing 1-30 of 67
“to live in this world

you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.

--from WHEN DEATH COMES”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“Also I wanted to be able to love
And we all know how that one goes, don't we?
Slowly”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier?”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“Drive down any road,

take a train or an airplane
across the world, leave
your old life behind,

die and be born again~
wherever you arrive
they'll be there first,

glossy and rowdy
and indistinguishable.
The deep muscle of the world.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
tags: crows
“And there you are
on the shore,

fitful and thoughtful, trying
to attach them to an idea —
some news of your own life.
But the lilies

are slippery and wild—they are
devoid of meaning, they are
simply doing,
from the deepest

spurs of their being,
what they are impelled to do
every summer.
And so, dear sorrow, are you.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“And I do not want anymore to be useful, to be docile, to lead / children out of the fields into the text / of civility, to teach them that they are (they are not) better than the grass.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
At Blackwater Pond

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire --
clearly I'm not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
-from The Buddha's Last Instruction”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“...because my life without you would be
a place of parched and broken trees...”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“When it over, I want to say:all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular,and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

from "When the death comes”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“They stay in my mind, these beautiful people,
or anyway beautiful people to me, of which
there are so many. You, and you, and you,
whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe
missed. Love, love, love, it was the
core of my life, from which, of course, comes
the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women
and some — now carry my revelation with you —
were trees. Or places. Or music flying above
the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best, the most
loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into
my eyes, every morning. So I imagine
such love of the world — its fervency, its shining, its
innocence and hunger to give of itself — I imagine
this is how it began.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“Of course! the path to heaven
doesn't lie down in flat miles.
It's in the imagination
with which you perceive
this world,
and the gestures
with which you honor it.
-from The Swan”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“A dog comes to you and lives with you in your own house, but you do not therefore own her, as you do not own the rain, or the trees, or the laws which pertain to them.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One: 1
“Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“When I have to die, I would like to die
on a day of rain -
long rain, slow rain, the kind you think will never end.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“I don't want you just to sit down at the table.
I don't want you just to eat, and be content.
I want you to walk out into the fields
where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.
I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.
I want you to fill your hands with the mud, like a blessing.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“A Dream of Trees

There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, school, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“And what has consciousness come to anyway, so far, that is better than these light-filled bodies?”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“...to be absent from the world
and alive, again, in another...”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“All my life
I have been restless-
I have felt there is something
more wonderful than gloss-
than wholeness-
than staying at home.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“Now and again there's a moment,
when the heart cries aloud:
yes, I am willing to be
that wild darkness,
that long, blue body of light.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“The water, that circle of shattered glass,
healed itself with a slow whisper
and lay back”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“I look upon time as no more than an idea, and I consider eternity as another possibility”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
“It's true, isn't it,
in our world,
that the petals pooled with nectar, and the polished thorns
are a single thing-
that the petals pooled with nectar, and the polished thorns
are a single thing-
that even the purest light, lacking the robe of darkness,
would be without expression-
that love itself, without pain, would be
no more than a shrug gable comfort.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One

« previous 1 3