Learning to be Astonished

December 3, 2017

. . . . .

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 astonished.

The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all 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.

-Mary Oliver
. . . . . 

I've been in love with Mary Oliver since high school, and this one especially moves me. Do you have a favorite poet / poem? 


  1. I love Mary Oliver too! Thanks for sharing that poem; it's been a while since I've read it. I'm actually reading her book, Rules For the Dance, which is about poetry and has a good anthology at the end. Billy Collins makes me laugh and I really liked his anthology of other poets: Poetry 180.

    1. Oh I love Billy Collins! One of my favorites is Hangover - have you read it? Makes me laugh every time... :) I'll check out Rules For the Dance! xoxo