The poet Mary Oliver has died. My heart hurts because I cannot stand to lose - we cannot stand to lose - anyone who brings such insight and joy to a suffering world. When events weigh so heavy on the individual and collective psyche, we need poets to see clearly the beauty and blessings in the everyday. They tell us what to look for, how much we have to appreciate.
In the NPR article on Oliver's death (Mary Oliver), a line from her poem "When Death Comes," ends the piece. She wrote "When it's over, I want to say all my life / I was a bride married to amazement."
Oliver's poetry reveals her perpetual leaning toward amazement, toward the miraculous. I have been leaning in to current events, to troubling issues and worries about my children...I need to lean the other way, into seeing everything as miracle.
How many lives have been uplifted by this line, from "The Summer Day,"
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?"
It's been on our refrigerator for years, but we forget to celebrate its meaning. Tonight we'll talk about a "wild and precious life" with the kids, and try to revive the hope and passion first evoked by her words.
Oliver's life may have ended but her words and vision will inspire us always. She was a bride married to amazement, an artist with heart and humility, and she will be missed.