Every Morning, So Far, I’m Alive



Isn’t it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about

spiritual patience? Isn’t it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?

Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.

Every morning, so far, I’m alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky—as though

all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined
their strong, thick wings.

~Mary Oliver  “Landscape”

photo by Cheryl Bostrom

In gratitude to poet Mary Oliver, who did not wake up this morning on this side of the veil, but did wake up to unimaginable glory on another side:

Even in mid-January,
when endless days drag on dark and damp~
even when I am unconvinced
new life and light will ever return,
these mosses grow with enthusiasm,
requiring so little to stay alive~

they patiently encourage me
to fly with strong wings,
to keep open the doors of my heart
to the possibility
that even now,
especially now when I can’t imagine it,
I too will thrive.


When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
~Mary Oliver from “When Death Comes”

5 thoughts on “Every Morning, So Far, I’m Alive

  1. In Native American mythology, a crow takes the soul to heaven. Mary Oliver’s crow must have been magnificent, and large enough to blot out the sun momentarily. Godspeed Mary, thank you for your wonderful words!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oliver was clearly one of God’s angels, patiently teaching us how to pay attention to all the natural world reveals about God’s presence. Thank goodness we have her poetry and essays to mine for spiritual insight and inspiration.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. At first I felt sadness and a true sense of loss that Mary had left us, never again to nurture our minds and souls with any new poetry. We know and believe that Mary did not truly ‘leave us.’ She went home! A significant difference.’
    Goin’ home at some point in time when our earthly journey ends is the hope that those who believe in God’s promises of something greater that awaits them –an eternity with Him — trusts.

    Thankfully, we have an amazing treasure that Mary has left us in her poetry, most now or soon to be in print. It was through your blog, Emily, that I was introduced to this unusual woman and her extraordinary talent for sharing her soul with its rare ethereal insights with us. Mary’s innate blessed talent inspired her to see what we may not always ‘look beyond’ – under our feet, in the sky above – and outside the unlimited possibilities of our own imagination. Mary took the time to do this and with her unique Spirit-blessed human vision she allowed us to see what her soul was seeing – vast as an ocean or nearly microscopic as potential life that exists in a single drop of rain or a mound of freshly-turned earth. We felt through her eyes and her heart so obviously full of love for our God’s Creation and thus, for all that exists, here on our comparatively small Earth and well beyond into the spectacular, seemingly endless fully unknown Universe.

    Welcome home, Mary. Thank you for the gifts that you have left with us – to see beyond, to care, to love, to share….

    And thank you, beautiful Emily, for the uncounted ‘seeds’ that you plant so faithfully in your blog and in your profession as you share your faith witness and your love of Jesus the Christ with us, your readers, using your God-given talents for poetry and spectacular life-like photography You will most likely never know the results of many of those seeds that have borne fruit and flourish with a new-found love for our Creator-God – the Gardner. It is not necessary for those who plant the seeds to know. We have done our part and move on, continuing to ‘plant’ until we, too, are called ‘Home.’ It is sufficient for us that the Gardner knows. He, now,will take over and tend all the seeds in His Garden.

    Liked by 2 people

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