top of page


Mary Oliver

Top 10 Best Quotes

“The Uses Of Sorrow (In my sleep I dreamed this poem) Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

“Praying It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just pay attention, then patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate, this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak.”

“From the complications of loving you I think there is no end or return. No answer, no coming out of it. Which is the only way to love, isn’t it? This isn’t a play ground, this is earth, our heaven, for a while. Therefore I have given precedence to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods that hold you in the center of my world. And I say to my body: grow thinner still. And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song. And I say to my heart: rave on.”

“My work is the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird - equal seekers of sweetness. Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums...”

“oxygen Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even, while it calls the earth its home, the soul. So the merciful, noisy machine stands in our house working away in its lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel before the fire, stirring with a stick of iron, letting the logs lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room, are in your usual position, leaning on your right shoulder which aches all day. You are breathing patiently; it is a beautiful sound. It is your life, which is so close to my own that I would not know where to drop the knife of separation. And what does this have to do with love, except everything? Now the fire rises and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red roses of flame. Then it settles to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift: our purest, sweet necessity: the air.”

“As for life, I'm humbled, I'm without words sufficient to say how it has been hard as flint, and soft as a spring pond, both of these and over and over, and long pale afternoons besides, and so many mysteries beautiful as eggs in a nest, still unhatched though warm and watched over by something I have never seen – a tree angel, perhaps, or a ghost of holiness. Every day I walk out into the world to be dazzled, then to be reflective. It suffices, it is all comfort – along with human love, dog love, water love, little-serpent love, sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds flying among the scarlet flowers. There is hardly time to think about stopping, and lying down at last to the long afterlife, to the tenderness yet to come, when time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever, and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves. As for death, I can't wait to be the hummingbird, can you?”

“Oh Lord of melons, of mercy, though I am not ready, nor worthy, I am climbing towards you.”

“You have broken my heart. Just as well. Now I am learning to rise above all that, learning the thin life, waking up simply to praise everything in this world that is strong and beautiful always—the trees, the rocks, the fields, the news from heaven, the laughter that comes back all the same. Just as well. Time to read books, rake the lawn in peace, sweep the floor, scour the faces of the pans, anything. And I have been so diligent it is almost over, I am growing myself as strong as rock, as a tree which, if I put my arms around it, does not lean away.”

“That time I thought I could not go any closer to grief without dying I went closer, and I did not die.”

“And who do you think you are sauntering along five feet up in the air, the ocean a blue fire around your ankles, the sun on your face on your shoulders its golden mouth whispering (so it seems) you! you! you!”

Except where otherwise noted, all rights reserved to the author(s) of this book (mentioned above). The content of this page serves as promotional material only. If you enjoyed these quotes, you can support the author(s) by acquiring the full book from Amazon.

Book Keywords:

air, grief, suffering, loss, breathing, strength, death, love, prayer, broken-heart, pain, life, praying, darkness, poetry, perseverance, dying, sorrow

bottom of page