Every day
….I see or hear
……..something
…………that more or less

kills me
….with delight,
……..that leaves me
…………like a needle

in the haystack
….of light.
……..It was 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?

by Mary Oliver

 

A real Mary Oliver classic, this poem, celebrating the preciousness of noticing what is here. The way that ordinary things can be magical if only we stop to look and listen, and how teachings are hidden everywhere. Makes me want to go outside and be, drop my stories and to-do lists and find the softness of the world again, which so easily gets lost in the striving-doing mode.

I love her phrase ‘the untrimmable light of the world’, it invites me to look with what my friend Sofie used to call “beauty-eyes”. Which is actually a pretty good way of summing up what many of Mary Oliver’s poems get me to do: looking with my beauty-eyes…

What do you notice when you look at the world in this way?

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