Top 10 Quotes by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

The poet dreams of the classroom I dreamed I stood up in class And I said aloud: Teacher, Why is algebra important? Sit down, he said. Then I dreamed I stood up And I said: Teacher, I’m weary of the turkeys That we have to draw every fall. May I draw a fox instead? Sit down, he said. Then I dreamed I stood up once more and said: Teacher, My heart is falling asleep And it wants to wake up. It needs to be outside. Sit down, he said.

Mary Oliver
The poet must not only write the poem but must scrutinize the world intensely, or anyway that part of the world he or she has taken for subject. If the poem is thin, it is likely so not because the poet does not know enough words, but because he or she has not stood long enough among the flowers--has not seen them in any fresh, exciting, and valid way.
Mary Oliver

But how did you come burning down like a wild needle, knowing just where my heart was?

Mary Oliver
I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.
Mary Oliver

Look, hasn't my body already felt like the body of a flower?

Mary Oliver
I want to write something so simply about love or about pain that even as you are reading you feel it and as you read you keep feeling it and though it be my story it will be common, though it be singular it will be known to you so that by the end you will think— no, you will realize— that it was all the while yourself arranging the words, that it was all the time words that you yourself, out of your heart had been saying.
Mary Oliver

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.

Mary Oliver
There were times over the years when life was not easy, but if you're working a few hours a day and you've got a good book to read, and you can go outside to the beach and dig for clams, you're okay.
Mary Oliver

What can we do but keep on breathing in and out, modest and willing, and in our places?

Mary Oliver
Belief isn't always easy. But this much I have learned--- if not enough else--- to live with my eyes open.