Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Muse Day


Every day
I see or hear
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

On September 10, the poet, Mary Oliver, will celebrate her 75Th birthday. Maxine Kumin wrote in Women's Review of Books, "Oliver’s verse focuses on the quiet of occurrences of nature: industrious hummingbirds, egrets, motionless ponds, “lean owls / hunkering with their lamp-eyes.” Kumin noted that Oliver “stands quite comfortably on the margins of things, on the line between earth and sky, the thin membrane that separates human from what we loosely call animal.” Her poetry has been described as an antidote for the excesses of civilization.

I've personally, never read a poem of hers that hasn't touched me and it is with great delight that I share this poem with you on Muse Day. Carolyn Gail Sweet Home and Garden Chicago asks that we post a poem on the first of each month. Please stop by her blog to link to other Muse Day posts.



  1. A great way to start the month dear Gail. I hope to grow wise from the teachings.

  2. Beautiful poem and photo, perfect for Muse Day (I remembered to post one today too). Happy September, dear Gail :)

  3. Thank you for sharing another M. Oliver poem, dear Gail. Her words are immediately recognizable, such depth and power yet so simple.

  4. Do you have Mary Oliver reads At Blackwater Pond? I listen to it over and over again.

  5. Thank you for posting this poem, nice way to continue the day. Very touching and memorable.

  6. MA, I don't but I'll check it out...gail

  7. I feel the same way about her. And, I have heard other gardener/naturalists say the same thing.

  8. Two of my favorite poets. Mary and Maxine. This is a beautiful poem. Like you, Mary never fails to bring me into the natural world when I feel as if I am drowning in civilization. Happy GB Muse Day. Your photo is perfect with this poem.

  9. I LOVE this poem, Gail! Perfect! :-) Your photo is almost shockingly bright. Really great. Happy September. (Did I say "September?" Yipes!)

  10. A wonderful poem selection. Quite lovely.

  11. A great poem and a great picture to go with it!

  12. Such a beautiful poem and so moving! I haven't read a poem of Mary Oliver's that I didn't like either, Gail. In fact, I think I may just have to buy a book of her poems to read more. Happy September!

  13. What a lovely photo of sunflowers, Gail. I love your choice of poetry also. It truly is an antidote for the excesses of our society. Finding pleasure and contentment in the nature is so simple, but not always easy. Too often I find myself caught up in the craziness of daily living. Thanks for the reminder. :-)


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson