[Poetry Friday] The Beauty of “A Thousand Mornings” by Mary Oliver

poetry friday

Myra here.

We have just launched our new reading theme this March-April on Fearless Females and Courageous Women, and so we plan on featuring outstanding female poets until end of April. Many thanks to the fabulous Linda Baie of Teacher Dance for hosting this week.

The female portrait is a pencil drawing done by Iphigene on paper. The whole poster was completed using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Thank you, once again, Iphigene for this lovely poster.

The female portrait is a pencil drawing done by Iphigene on paper. The whole poster was completed using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Thank you, once again, Iphigene for this lovely poster.

We begin our theme with none other than Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings. Ever since I discovered Oliver a few years ago, I was awed by her fearlessness in declaring her love for nature, beauty, and the silence within.

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She makes it seem so simple – she never uses very complicated words that seem intent on mystifying the reader. Rather, she makes use of that which is familiar and transforms it into something so ancient, achingly real, and joyously beautiful that it can not fail to move anyone who reads her poetry. I am grateful that she has given me the gift of ‘a thousand mornings’ to read again and again and again.

There are 36 poems in this collection, each one a snapshot of how she sees the world – from her utter disenchantment with humanity in The Morning Paper to her happiness in having her dog return in The First Time Percy Came Back (which I also read in her Dog Songs). The ones that stood out for me, though, are these four poems that I feel capture her desire to find something good in nature and capture slivers of light in darknesses so she can sing the song of “a thousand mornings.” I hope that these poems bring you comfort. Do let me know which one wove its way into your consciousness. As per usual, I took a photo of the page and edited it using an iPhone app.

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A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver. Published by Penguin Books, 2013. Goodreads Choice Awards Best Poetry. Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

  1. Thanks for sharing these poems. I’m a beach-goer and especially go there when I’m feeling stressed, so I loved ‘I Go Down to the Shore’.

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  2. Lovely selections, Myra – thanks. I’ve been calling myself a whirling dervish these past weeks, so I’d probably pick “If I Were,” which means I need to pay attention to “Today”!

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  3. Mary Oliver does make it seem so easy, and she speaks to me, too, Myra. I love “I Go Down To The Shore”, seeing myself in it at times. When I gripe or whine, and then see something beautiful & tell myself to “quit it”, time to celebrate the lovely around me. Thanks for sharing all these, Myra.

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  4. I just love what you did with these poems, Myra – the artwork is perfect. Oliver is a marvel – there is that apparent simplicity that is not simplicity; she writes from deep, deep waters.

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  5. Thanks for these, Myra. I especially like the phrase “voodoos of ambition” in “Today.” I share something from Mary Oliver today, too. She is amazing.

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  6. Hooray! Love your theme this month, Myra, and I love Mary Oliver. I especially love the first poem for it’s blunt ending. It seems to be speaking directly to me: “Get over yourself, Michelle. Time to move on.”

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