These past months and weeks have been filled with much sorrow and much joy — like so much of life, and I awake today, feeling nourished by both. Open-handed and open-hearted, I turn to melodious bird chirps, the silent, steady rays of the sun, and beloved Mary Oliver and begin again.
All we know is this gift of today. May it look something like gratitude, like astonishment, and like “loving the world.”
by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
p.s. Please forgive the formatting changes in the poem that WordPress couldn’t help but make!
p.p.s. To hear Mary read this poem is a holy experience. She recites it and other magnificent selections on her CD collection entitled “Many Miles.” It is worth checking out, and thank you to my dear friend Janie for sharing it with me.