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Quotes of the day: Mary Oliver

Published Saturday, September 10, 2016 @ 10:59 AM EDT
Sep 10 2016

Mary Oliver (b. September 10, 1935) is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times described her as "far and away, this country's best-selling poet." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing.

And I say to my heart: rave on.

As long as you're dancing, you can break the rules.

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?

Everybody has to have their little tooth of power. Everybody wants to be able to bite.

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

I don't ask for the sights in front of me to change, only the depth of my seeing.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don't hesitate. Give in to it.

In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love and the ability to question. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us.

Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

It is better for the heart to break, than not to break.

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.

Listen- are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

The path to heaven doesn't lie down in flat miles. It's in the imagination with which you perceive this world, and the gestures with which you honor it.

There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But who wants easier?

Things take the time they take. don't worry. How many roads did St. Augustine follow before he became St. Augustine?

To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

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

Today I am altogether without ambition. Where did I get such wisdom?

You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.

Categories: Mary Oliver


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