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Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver Kindle Edition
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“It’s as if the poet herself has sidled beside the reader and pointed us to the poems she considers most worthy of deep consideration.” —Chicago Tribune
About the Author
- ASIN : B01MZHR2P7
- Publisher : Penguin Books (October 10, 2017)
- Publication date : October 10, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 1021 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 477 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #22,037 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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FROM THE BOOK OF TIME
I rose this morning early as usual, and went to my desk,
But it's spring.
and the thrush is in the woods,
somewhere in the twirled branches, and he is singing.
And now, so, I am standing by the open door.
And now I am stepping down onto the grass.
I an touching a few leaves,
I am noticing the way the yellow butterflies
move together, in a twinkling cloud, over the field.
And I am thinking: maybe just looking and listening
is the real work.
Maybe the world, without us
is the real poem.
She is a deist and her God is a Christian God. Though she quotes from both the Old and New Testaments, her language reflects more of the New replete with words like: grace, prayer, rapture and praise. She has no doubt that there is a God for the reader need only see dawn conquer the darkness to know each day is a recreation of the first day. Though she never overtly writes of resurrection, her frequent reflections on death suggest an eternity of existence. In WHITE OWL FLIES INTO AND OUT OF THE FIELD, Oliver writes "...so I thought maybe death isn't darkness, after all, but so much light wrapping itself around us- as soft as feathers-that we are instantly weary of looking and looking and shut our eyes not with amazement, and let ourselves be carried, as though the translucence of mica to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow- that is nothing but light-scalding, aortal light- in which we are washed and washed out of our bones."
Another frequent theme is the wonder and beauty of nature. In the style of Walt Whittman, she praises all forms of fauna, flora and aquatic environments from the tiny puddle to the vast ocean. She marvels at the blue of the sky, the blackness of night, the moon's refelctions amid the stars, "those hot, hard watchmen of the night." Looking and listening are our major tasks to appreciate nature fully. She writes, "To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work." In her poem HUM, Oliver is literally "buzzing" with excitement and creativity as she follows a worker bee gather and carry pollen to the hive.
Finally, Oliver underscores her joy in love and companionship. There are hints throughout her poems of a lonely and perhaps neglected childhood. She relishes sharing food and drink with her partner and dogs and the joy of physical closeness. She shares her saddness at the loss of a friend whose "closeness was like a flame, and now I am forever cold..."
In THE LOON ON OAK-HEAD POND, she writes of listening to the call of loons stopping over on the pond while heading home to the north "...you come every afternoon and wait to hear it. you sit a long time, quiet, under the thick pines, in the silence that follows. as though it were your own twilight. as though it were your own vanishing song." This marvelous collection of Oliver's poems keeps her voice forever resonating in the reader's mind and heart.
Top reviews from other countries
These poems glimmer and sparkle and remind one to go and be astonished by the world. Sit beneath trees and ponder the dragonfly.
The world is a lesser place without Mary Oliver. But her rich soul resides in these words.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 24, 2018