"I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."
I don't recall the exact moment I chanced upon Mary Oliver. Was I scrolling down Tumblr when a snippet of her poem made me pause? Was it when I was picking up every book on the poetry shelf at Barnes & Noble and hers took my breath away? Was it through a random quote posted somewhere on social media?
Just like how we look back out our lives and don't always remember those defining moments, this was one of them for me. Discovering Mary Oliver and her poetry introduced me to a whole new way of manipulating words. Sure, all my life I read books, but none of them contained words that seemed to consume me and relate to me on a whole other level. After a long day, cracking open Mary Oliver's poetry was soothing. She always tells her reader, "It's going to be okay." and sometimes, that's the only thing you need to hear. The following is a list of my favorite Oliver quotes taken from her many poems:
"Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"Portland graffiti – poetry in concrete.
From the poem "The Summer Day."
"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift."
From the poem "The Uses of Sorrows."
"Listen--are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"
From the poem "Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?"
"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable."
From the poem "Evidence."
"It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world."Happy New Year from Powell’s!
From the poem "Invitation."
"I row my beautiful, temporary body through this water lily world."
From the poem "Six Recognitions of the Lord."
"You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life."
From the anthology "Wild Geese."