Friday, March 7, 2014


I happened upon a poem today -- "Praying," by Mary Oliver --  and although I had read it at least once before, this time it truly spoke to me, as if it were calling me by name.  It surely speaks to how I respond to nature, and to the Great Goodness that lies at the heart of creation and surrounds us everywhere.  I was especially struck by this coincidence: that the three specific images Oliver names in her poem are exactly those that have also many times stunned me into silence and reverence.  I post a fourth image here, too, of sunlight rippling across underwater sand, a play of color and light as gorgeous as any stained-glass window in church. It brings me exquisite joy and profound gratitude each time I gaze on it.  As does Mary Oliver with her poetry,  I hope that the words and images I post on my blog would be my own way of 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.

From Thirst: Poems by Mary Oliver,  Beacon Press, 2006


DeniseinVA said...

I am a big fan of Mary Oliver and love her poems. Your photos are fantastic and the poem you picked pairs beautifully. A marvelous post, thank you :)

The Furry Gnome said...

Beautiful selection of photos to go with beautiful words.

June said...

This post reminds me of the pre-mastectomy day that I had the biopsy. All Poor Me until I looked around and saw, with different eyes, the beauty all around me.

Your marriage of poetry and photos is superb.

catharus said...

Couldn't be better said. Your rich experience of the outdoors is prayer. I could say more but needn't.

suep said...

beautiful, beautiful post -
I have stood beside you for at least one of those photos - filled with the same feelings of gratefulness - how wonderful to share it

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Oh, my dear readers, I am so glad that you liked this post and this poem. Mary Oliver's poetry speaks so directly to me, reminding me that "my work is loving the world," and teaching me that I do this by "mostly standing still and learning to be astonished."