Maryoliver1

Two Poems by Mary Oliver

Post Series: Poetry Thursday

This Thursday, we had an inner-office conflict regarding which poem to choose. Marissa preferred one, and I the other. So, today you can enjoy two! Vote for your favorite in a comment if you wish.

 

Invitation

by Mary Oliver

 

Oh do you have time

to linger

for just a little while

out of your busy day

 

and very important day

for the goldfinches

that have gathered

in a field of thistles

 

for a musical battle,

to see who can sing

the highest note,

of the lowest,

 

or the most expressive of mirth,

of the most tender?

Their strong, blunt beaks

drink the air

 

as they strive

melodiously

not for your sake

and not for mine

 

and not for the sake of winning

but for sheer delight and gratitude-

believe us, they say,

it is a serious thing

 

just to be alive

on this fresh morning

in this broken world.

I beg of you,

 

do not walk by

without pausing

to attend to this

rather ridiculous performance.

 

It could mean something.

It could mean everything.

It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:

You must change your life.

 

From This River, When I Was a Child, I Used to Drink

by Mary Oliver

 

But when I came back I found

that the body of the river was dying.

“Did it speak?”

Yes, it sang out the old songs, but faintly.

“What will you do?”

I will grieve of course, but that’s nothing.

“What, precisely, will you grieve for?”

For the river. For myself, my lost

joyfulness. For the children who will not

know what a river can be- a friend, a

companion, a hint of heaven.

“Isn’t this somewhat overplayed?”

I said: it can be a friend. A companion. A hint of heaven.

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