Mary Oliver (1935 - )

Excerpts from Six Recognitions of the Lord:

Lord God, mercy is in your hands, pour
me a little.  And tenderness too.  My
need is great.  Beauty walks so freely
and with such gentleness.  Impatiences puts
a halter on my face and I run away over
the green fields wanting your voice, your
tenderness, but having to do with only
the sweet grasses of the fields against
my body.  When I first found you I was
filled with light, now the darkness grows
and it is filled with crooked things, bitter
and weak, each one bearing my name.

Of course I have always known you
are present in the clouds, and the
black oak I especially adore, and the
wings of the birds. But you are present
too in the body, listening to the body,
teaching it to live, instead of all
that touching, with disembodied joy.
We do not do this easily.  We have
lived so long in the heaven of touch
and we maintain our mutability, our
physicality, even as we begin to
apprehend the other world. Slowly we
make our appreciative response.
Slowly appreciation swells to
astonishment.  And we enter the dialogue
of our lives that is beyond all under-
standing or conclusion.  It is mystery.
It is love of God.  It is obedience.

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I could not find the complete poem posted online, but I highly recommend to you the entire book of poems by Mary Oliver:


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