Thursday, January 12, 2012

Invitation by Mary Oliver

My retreat Thursday led me to pick up a book of poetry and to slow down long enough to savor the imagery and wisdom of simple words.  Not exactly how I anticipated spending this retreat, but it was apparently what I needed.  I wanted to share with you the poem that resonated with me all day:

Invitation by Mary Oliver

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches 
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink in the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of the winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude -
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.


  1. Beautiful, glad I stopped by.

  2. Very pretty. Mary Oliver is just wonderful.

  3. What a lovely thoughtful poem. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Beautiful poem. I've come to know Mary Oliver's poems over the past year or two, but, I don't know this one, Molly, and it is a rare treat to read it.


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