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Celebrating Mary Oliver

by Jan 19, 20198 comments

Mary Oliver passed away last week.  For those who loved poetry and nature, Mary Oliver was a muse, an inspiration and a lyrical writer.

Famously, and metaphorically, she wrote in her poem “The Summer Day”,

“You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.” “What will you do with your one delicious life?”


Mary Oliver made us think about our place in the world—and about living large. She invited us to live our Why-Be-Do®.

Here is a wonderful meditation, from her famous poem, “When Death Comes” – sit in a quiet place and reflect on this deeply inquisitive enquiry about the purpose of your life and how you wish to be present in the world:


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.


How will these words affect your life going forward?


Thank you, Mary Oliver, for making us think about what is important in the world and how to live lives that are large and inspiring.

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