The first of three poems by Mary Oliver as the seasons change…

Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

Mary Oliver, Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches? (extract)


Hearing the song


I spent the weekend in Glendalough and was able to walk in nature early in the morning among the trees and rivers. Some say even the rocks there vibrate with life. It was easy to feel grace and see wonder, just as we did as children.  So what we strive for in our working days – in the “chambers of commerce” –  is to remember that beauty and grace are never far from us. They are in the leaf, the stone, the heart.  If we listen,  there is wonder all around, and it sings. Can we hear it today?

What can I say that I have not said before? So I’ll say it again.
The leaf has a song in it.
Stone is the face of patience.
Inside the river there is an unfinishable story
and you are somewhere in it
and it will never end until all ends.

Take your busy heart to the art museum and the chamber of commerce
but take it also to the forest.
The song you heard singing in the leaf when you
were a child is singing still.
I am of years lived, so far, seventy-four,
and the leaf is singing still

Mary Oliver,  What can I say?

What’s wrong with maybe

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I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs;
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway.
What’s wrong with Maybe?

You wouldn’t believe what once or
twice I have seen. I’ll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.

Mary Oliver, The World I live in

Inspired by s and with thanks to

photo robinhood22

Thousands of voices


Do you bow your head when you pray 
or do you look up into that blue space? 
Take your choice, prayers fly from all directions. 
And don’t worry about what language you use, 
God no doubt understands them all. 
Even when the swans are flying north 
and making such a ruckus of noise, 
God is surely listening and understanding. 
Rumi said, There is no proof of the soul. 
But isn’t the return of spring 
and how it springs up in our hearts a pretty good hint? 
Yes, I know, God’s silence never breaks, 
but is that really a problem? 
There are thousands of voices, after all. 
And furthermore, don’t you imagine (I just suggest it) 
that the swans know about as much as we do 
about the whole business? 
So listen to them and watch them, 
singing as they fly. 
Take from it what you can.

Mary Oliver, Whistling Swans