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Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? - Mary Oliver Quotes
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
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Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. - Mary Oliver Quotes
Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
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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.
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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.
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I don't want to end up simply having visited this world. - Mary Oliver Quotes
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
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Listen--are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life? - Mary Oliver Quotes
Listen--are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
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To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. - Mary Oliver Quotes
To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.
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Poetry isn't a profession, it's a way of life. It's an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.
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I simply do not distinguish between work and play. - Mary Oliver Quotes
I simply do not distinguish between work and play.
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it is a serious thing // just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world. - Mary Oliver Quotes
it is a serious thing // just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world.
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Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?
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If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don't hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that's often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don't be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
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Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
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Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads. (from “Mysteries, Yes”)
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I don't ask for the sights in front of me to change, only the depth of my seeing. - Mary Oliver Quotes
I don't ask for the sights in front of me to change, only the depth of my seeing.
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One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began. - Mary Oliver Quotes
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began.
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Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable. - Mary Oliver Quotes
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
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You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
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Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled-to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world. I want to believe I am looking into the white fire of a great mystery. I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing-that the light is everything-that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.
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In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love and the ability to question. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us.
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Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath? Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers, with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?
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You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.
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I would say that there exists a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves-we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together, we are each other's destiny.
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I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.
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Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields...Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
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I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
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I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us. - Mary Oliver Quotes
I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us.
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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.
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The dream of my life is to lie down by a slow river and stare at the light in the trees - to learn something by being nothing
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And I say to my heart: rave on. - Mary Oliver Quotes
And I say to my heart: rave on.
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Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? 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. Instructions for living a life: pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
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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.
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And that is just the point... how the world, moist and beautiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That's the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. "Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?
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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.
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So come to the pond, or the river of your imagination, or the harbor of your longing, and put your lips to the world. And live your life.
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My work is the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird - equal seekers of sweetness. Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
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There are things you can’t reach. But You can reach out to them, and all day long. The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god. And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier. I look; morning to night I am never done with looking. Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around As though with your arms open.
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It's morning, and again I am that lucky person who is in it. - Mary Oliver Quotes
It's morning, and again I am that lucky person who is in it.
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Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, Stay awhile. - Mary Oliver Quotes
Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, Stay awhile.
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Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination. - Mary Oliver Quotes
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination.
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We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it. - Mary Oliver Quotes
We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.
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If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. - Mary Oliver Quotes
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.
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How heron comes It is a negligence of the mind not to notice how at dusk heron comes to the pond and stands there in his death robes, perfect servant of the system, hungry, his eyes full of attention, his wings pure light
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Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.
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We shake with joy, we shake with grief. What a time they have, these two housed as they are in the same body.
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There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But who wants easier? - Mary Oliver Quotes
There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But who wants easier?
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... Let us risk the wildest places, Lest we go down in comfort, and despair. - Mary Oliver Quotes
... Let us risk the wildest places, Lest we go down in comfort, and despair.
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You never know / What opportunity / Is going to travel to you, / Or through you. - Mary Oliver Quotes
You never know / What opportunity / Is going to travel to you, / Or through you.
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Look, I want to love this world as though it's the last chance I'm ever going to get to be alive and know it.
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When will you have a little pity for every soft thing that walks through the world, yourself included.
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Why I Wake Early Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety – best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light – good morning, good morning, good morning. Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
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Every day I walk out into the world / to be dazzled, then to be reflective. - Mary Oliver Quotes
Every day I walk out into the world / to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
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Sometimes I spend all day trying to count the leaves on a single tree... Of course I have to give up, but by then I'm half crazy with the wonder of it--the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious and important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.
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In your hands The dog, the donkey, surely they know They are alive. Who would argue otherwise? But now, after years of consideration, I am getting beyond that. What about the sunflowers? What about The tulips, and the pines? Listen, all you have to do is start and There’ll be no stopping. What about mountains? What about water Slipping over rocks? And speaking of stones, what about The little ones you can Hold in your hands, their heartbeats So secret, so hidden it may take years Before, finally, you hear them?
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I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything - other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world's otherness is antidote to confusion - that standing within this otherness - the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books - can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.
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I thought the earth remembered me, she took me back so tenderly, arranging her dark skirts, her pockets full of lichens and seeds. I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed, nothing between me and the white fire of the stars but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths among the branches of the perfect trees. All night I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me, the insects, and the birds who do their work in the darkness. All night I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling with a luminous doom. By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better.
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He is exactly the poem I wanted to write. - Mary Oliver Quotes
He is exactly the poem I wanted to write.
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Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
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I saw that worrying had come to nothing and gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang.
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Wild sings the bird of the heart in the forests of our lives. - Mary Oliver Quotes
Wild sings the bird of the heart in the forests of our lives.
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The sweetness of dogs (fifteen) What do you say, Percy? I am thinking of sitting out on the sand to watch the moon rise. Full tonight. So we go and the moon rises, so beautiful it makes me shudder, makes me think about time and space, makes me take measure of myself: one iota pondering heaven. Thus we sit, I thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s perfect beauty and also, oh! How rich it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile, leans against me and gazes up into my face. As though I were his perfect moon.
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Music: what so many sentences aspire to be. - Mary Oliver Quotes
Music: what so many sentences aspire to be.
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The stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own.
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Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.
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How many mysteries have you seen in your lifetime? How many nets pulled full over the boat's side, each silver body ready or not falling into submission? How many roses in early summer uncurling above the pale sands then falling back in unfathomable willingness? And what can you say? Glory to the rose and the leaf, to the seed, to the silver fish. Glory to time and the wild fields, and to joy. And to grief's shock and torpor, its near swoon.
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Walks work for me. I enter some arena that is neither conscious or unconscious.
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And now I understand something so frightening &wonderful- how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing through crossroads, sticking like lint to the familiar.
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Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
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Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone. When I'm alone I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing. If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.
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Don't we all die someday and someday comes all too soon? What will you do with your own wild, glorious chance at this thing we call life.
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But I also say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it's done right, is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive.
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The end of life has its own nature, also worth our attention. I don't say this without reckoning in the sorrow, the worry, the many diminishments. But surely it is then that a person's character shines or glooms.
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Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.
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I believe art is utterly important. It is one of the things that could save us. We don't have to rely totally on experience if we can do things in our imagination.... It's the only way in which you can live more lives than your own. You can escape your own time, your own sensibility, your own narrowness of vision.
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There is only one question: / how to love this world.
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Though I play at the edges of knowing, truly I know our part is not knowing, but looking, and touching, and loving
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But the owls themselves are not hard to find, silent and on the wing, with their ear tufts flat against their heads as they fly and their huge wings alternately gliding and flapping as they maneuver through the trees. Athena's owl of wisdom and Merlin's companion, Archimedes, were screech owls surely, not this bird with the glassy gaze, restless on the bough, nothing but blood on its mind.
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As long as you're dancing, you can break the rules.
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You can have the other words-chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I'll take grace. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'll take it.
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I believe in kindness. Also in mischief.
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