I recently revisited Red Bird, Mary Oliver's book of poems published last year. Ah, do I ever remember why I adore her work! Listed below are the items that I marked with my pencil, her words that particularly spoke to me. (Never fear, library types. It's my book.)
p.37 from Sometimes
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.
p.39 from Percy (Nine)
Emerson, I am trying to live,
as you said we must, the examined life.
But there are days I wish
there was less in my head to examine,
not to speak of the busy heart. How
would it be to be Percy, I wonder, not
thinking, not weighing anything, just running forward.
(Percy is Ms. Oliver's dog. I love that she writes about him.)
p.45 Watching a Documentary about Polar Bears Trying to Survive in the Melting Ice Floes
That God had a plan, I do not doubt.
But what if His plan was, that we would do better?
p.47 from Not This, Not That
or for you, oh blue sky of a summer morning,
that makes me roll in a barrel of gratitude
or for you, silliest and dearest of surprises, my
p.53 from We Should Be Well Prepared
The way somebody comes back, but only in a dream.
p.55 I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life (Ten)
Love, love, love, says Percy.
And run as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.
Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your burning heart.
p.57 from Mornings at Blackwater
What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
p.67 from I don't want to live a small life
I don't want to live a small life. Open your eyes,
open your hands.
p.72 from There you were, and it was like spring
Why are we made the way we are made, that to love
is to want?
p.75 from I will try
I did not come into this world
to be comforted.
I came, like a red bird, to sing.
p.77 from Someday
I am sorry for every mistake I have made in my life.
I'm sorry that I wasn't wiser sooner.
I'm sorry I ever spoke of myself as lonely.
Do yourself a favor, read some poetry today! It only takes a couple of minutes and you'll have a spring in your step. I promise!