Mary Oliver (1935-2019) was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her poetry often explored nature and the spiritual world. She died on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at her home in Florida.
We celebrate her life with deep gratitude for the remarkable human being she was and how she used words to witness, awaken and heal the world. A bight light is gone from our sky but her poetry and wisdom remain as a gift to humanity for generations to come. Rest in beauty and peace …
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
— Mary Oliver (“When Death Comes”) from New & Selected Poems: Vol 1
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver (“The Summer Day”) from House of Light
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 (“In Blackwater Woods”) from American Primitive