Mary Oliver quotes

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Mary Oliver

Birthdate: 10. September 1935
Date of death: 17. January 2019
Other names: مری الیور

Mary Jane Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2007 The New York Times described her as "far and away, this country's best-selling poet."

„Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.“

—  Mary Oliver

"Sometimes", § 4
Red Bird (2008)
Variant: Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

„Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?“

—  Mary Oliver

"The Summer Day"
New and Selected Poems (1992)
Variant: What will you do with your one precious, wild life?
Source: New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

„(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.“

—  Mary Oliver

Variant: Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
Source: Thirst

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„Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?“

—  Mary Oliver

Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?
West Wind (1997)

„I believe in kindness. Also in mischief.“

—  Mary Oliver

"Evidence"
Evidence (2009)
Context: I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

„You can have the other words — chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I'll take grace.“

—  Mary Oliver

"Sand Dabs, Five"
Winter Hours (1999)
Context: You can have the other words — chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I'll take grace. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'll take it.

„Glory to the world, that good teacher.“

—  Mary Oliver

"Evidence"
Evidence (2009)
Context: Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue.
But all beautiful things, inherently, have this function —
to excite the viewers toward sublime thought.
Glory to the world, that good teacher.

„You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.“

—  Mary Oliver

"Wild Geese"
Dream Work (1986)
Context: 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.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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