The Poet, In Solitude


Certain Sundays, especially those in the dead of winter, should start slowly and quietly. They demand a quieter awakening, a gentler touch. To that end, I offer no bombast or heated heralding of the break of day. Only this poem by Mary Oliver, from her collection ‘Red Bird.’ It speaks of the delicate unfolding of the heart, like the tissue-paper-wrapped bud of a daffodil crinkling open to reveal its nodding head.


I don’t want to live a small life

by Mary Oliver


I don’t want to live a small life. Open your eyes,

open your hands. I have just come

from the berry fields, the sun


kissing me with its golden mouth all the way

(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds

following along thinking perhaps I might


feed them, but no I carry these heart-shapes

only to you. Look how many how small

but so sweet and maybe the last gift


I will ever bring to anyone in this

world of hope and risk, so do.

Look at me. Open your life, open your hands.

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