Mary Oliver is dazzled by heaven

So I got up finally, with a grief worthy of you, and went home.

mary walks

Just over the
threshold, she cannot
move quickly
or carefully

Oh, what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?

On ageless legs, the
last word she heard
with mortal ears
still sounding:


The angels themselves weary
of our meanness, the smallness
of our gaze clouding
the crystalline ether.

beyond time’s brittle drift,
I stood like Adam in his lonely garden
On that first morning, shaken out of sleep,
Rubbing his eyes, listening, parting the leaves,
Like tissue on some vast, incredible gift.

She tucks pencils in
eternity’s crevices, Dixon
Ticonderoga, Blick No. 2,  ready
for the sharp and supple senses that saw

so clearly the egret,
the white froth of her shoulders,
and the white scrolls of her belly,
and the white flame of her head,
that heard acutely
the enormous waterfalls of the sun, that knew:

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly, every morning.

Ready, even here,
to record her quiet
amazement, washing clean
the tired air,
restoring the angels,
reminding them:

So every day
I was surrounded by the beautiful crying forth
of the ideas of God,
one of which was you.


oliver feat


Italicized lines taken from poems by Mary Oliver, who left us — much richer for her time on Earth — four years ago today.






  1. What a beautiful tribute. I love your creativity, Cate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thanks, Russ! This one, of course, owes a great deal to the incomparable Mary Oliver.

      Liked by 1 person

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