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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mary Oliver, Paying Attention

"To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work."

Happy Birthday to Mary Oliver, who  is 76 today.  She is one of my favourite poets because of her abilities to connect the soul and the landscape.  She is the favourite poet of many, has authored more than twenty books, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in the US.

Here is her poem:  The Morning Walk

There are a lot of words meaning thanks.
Some you can only whisper.
Others you can only sing.
The pewee whistles instead.
The snake turns in circles,
the beaver slaps his tail
on the surface of the pond.
The deer in the pinewoods stamps his hoof.
Goldfinches shine as they float through the air.
A person, sometimes, will hum a little Mahler.
Or put arms around old oak tree.
Or take out lovely pencil and notebook to find a few
touching and kissing words.

This poem is from Mary Oliver's book Long Life:  Essays and Other Writings, published in 2004 by First Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA.

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