What I was born for


Every day

I see or I hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It is what I was born for –
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

– Mary Oliver

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  1. jj
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    One of my all-time favorite Oliver poems. Can never get the phrase “the untrimmable light of the world” out of my head. Thank you for posting on this fall weekend.

  2. Posted October 12, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    love this. love you.

  3. Posted October 12, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Coming home from my run, where I was surrounded by the beautiful of autumn leaves, above me and under me, I couldn’t help but tear up at this poem, thinking, so that’s what I felt.

    Thank you for sharing this, Lindsey. What a lovely way to start my day.

  4. Posted October 12, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    oh i love Mary Oliver’s work so so much…thank you for sharing

  5. Amy
    Posted October 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful. I love the image of the prayers made from the grass.

    Happy weekend!

  6. Posted October 13, 2012 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    love love love this!

  7. Posted October 13, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I’m discovering you have another shared love of a poet.

    Mary’s most recent book just arrived yesterday “A Thousand Mornings”. Here are the final lines from her poem “Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness”: “So let us go on, cheerfully enough, this and every crisping day, though the sun be swinging east, and the ponds be cold and black, and the sweets of the year be doomed.”

  8. Posted October 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorites; we all need the light, don’t we?

  9. Posted October 30, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Love that we are on the same wavelength. xo